Crabapple Trunk Chopping

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Crabapple Trunk Chopping

Post  Dystinction on Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:57 pm

I've browsed through many posts on here, and have seen many fantastic Crabapples owned by various posters. This is one of my favorite trees and would love to get one sometime.
I didn't want to "hi-jack" any of the other threads, hence this new post.
I see very many, either collected or nursery stock, that get their trunks chopped down. My curiosity is to when this is best done. Should it be considered part of "normal" pruning to be performed in Spring as buds are forming, or something to carry out while the tree is dormant in late fall or winter?


Dystinction
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Re: Crabapple Trunk Chopping

Post  coh on Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:11 pm

I don't know when it is "best" done, but I'll give you info based on one crabapple that I've chopped. This was a 3" diameter tree growing in the ground. I chopped it below all the branches on May 31 (2010), which would have been after the first flush of growth had taken place. Within a month I had many new shoots (probably a couple dozen), most of which grew to about a foot in length that summer. I suspect I would have gotten even stronger growth if I had chopped before the new growth started in early spring, not sure why I didn't do it at that time.

You might want to check out some of Brent Walstons articles (one on crabapples and one on growing trunks) at www.evergreengardenworks.com, if you haven't seen them yet.

Chris

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Re: Crabapple Trunk Chopping

Post  Orion on Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:44 pm

Late winter, early spring is the best time to chop. The roots will have a huge amount of stored energy and chopping early will allow the shoots to pop from the cut itself and lower. The idea, in a nutshell, is "cut and grow". Make sure that you cut just a bit higher than where you want buds to break-this is due to dieback. Sometimes you'll see small swells on the trunks where the buds are developing and that would give you a really good guideline to go with. Don't make an angled cut, just chop it flush and you can take this down to a couple of inches. From there, grow your new leader, allow it to grow and cut it again at your first branch.

You'll find crabapples pretty forgiving and the'll bud like crazy.

Good luck and post some pics to show us the progress.

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Crabapple Trunk Chopping

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:12 pm

Why are you so sure it will need trunk chopping when you don't have one yet? This is a good time of year to see what the nurseries have on sale. Just be sure to get one that isn't grafted. As a rule, the hybrids will be grafted but the species will probably be on their own roots. You might find one that just needs one chop and has a nice fat branch to wire up for the leader.
Iris

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Re: Crabapple Trunk Chopping

Post  Dystinction on Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:05 pm

Thank you all for the information.

Iris, I'm not sure if anything that I have, or don't have, will need this degree of "pruning", I was just curious. Seems a little more drastic than other procedures, so I wanted to expand my knowledge.

Thanks all.

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Re: Crabapple Trunk Chopping

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