A Couple of Crabapples

ColinFraser

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At the Shohin Convention last month I bought a few crabapples to play with - one of them appears to be dead, not dormant! Oops.

Anyway, the two that are supposed to have white flowers are leafing out now. They're kind of ridiculous looking - a squat trunk with long straight upward shooting branches and a thin "flat top" layer of twigs/buds at their ends. Somebody had the right idea and cut them back at some point, but not nearly hard enough. Adding leaves is not really helping that image much ;)

image.jpeg

I haven't worked with crabapples before, and I've been wanting to try them out, so I grabbed these, looking at them as stock, not bonsai . . . yet.

You can guess what happened next:

image.jpeg
 

ColinFraser

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That's a little bit better:

image.jpeg

I've only done one of the two to start; it might be interesting to follow them in parallel with different treatment. I continued cleaning up the cuts after this picture, but I forgot to take another one. I think at least one more stub probably needs to go too.

Being inexperienced with these, I was a little cautious- only cutting back to a live growing bud or twig. I expect it to bud out lower, and I will probably reduce further then.
 

petegreg

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Crabapples backbud very well. But you will notice it soon. I'm not sure they can be propagated by cuttings. Or probably I haven't seen it yet. The trunks will be nice.
 

ColinFraser

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Crabapples backbud very well. But you will notice it soon.
I'm looking forward to it.

I'm not sure they can be propagated by cuttings. Or probably I haven't seen it yet.
I guess I'll find out :). I waited to chop until there were some leaves on them, but it's probably still not an ideal time to strike cuttings. I may repot the other one and then take cuttings from it in the summer.

The trunks will be nice.
Thanks. I think I can make something out of them.
 

barrosinc

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I did one cutting in late spring and it is still alive... No idea if it has rooted, but my guess is yes.

Why not leave 1 trunk on it? The book flowering bonsai (Peter Adams) I have days leave a stump and cut it completely of in autumn our you will get a large bulge.
 

Stan Kengai

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Colin, I think I would have taken this back even further, losing all of the "branches" except for the central leader and further chopping the leader to just behind that first left twig. As Max alluded to, during the growing season is not the best time to remove branches on crab apples because they make huge scar tissue. I would wait until late fall to do anything else.

The growth pattern, brown new twigs and light gray bark lead me to believe this is a variety of Sargents crab apple. This is good because Sargent's have smaller leaves, flowers and fruit than most other crab apple species.

I wish you luck with your cuttings, but I have never had any luck with hardwood cuttings on crabs. They'll tease you and keep leaves all year long, sometimes even leafing out the next spring, but all on stored energy with no new roots.
 

Cadillactaste

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someone else did a cutting awhile back...with success. You have a gold mind...hope they take.

Sucks one didn't come awake...but you have enough there to make up for it.

Love the transition of deep red buds turning pure white. Hadn't realized that...until searching more in depth on crabapples. Please keep us posted of their success.
 

petegreg

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Can you anybody, please, explain what crabapple name means. I think it's some science within it. Talking about native language vs. scientific names again. If I Google crabapple I'll get more results - Malus sp., M. halliana, cerassifera or red crabapple...
 

ColinFraser

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Why not leave 1 trunk on it? The book flowering bonsai (Peter Adams) I have (s)ays leave a stump and cut it completely of in autumn our you will get a large bulge.
I would have taken this back even further . . . growing season is not the best time . . . they make huge scar tissue. I would wait until late fall to do anything else.
Thanks guys; I'll do a little more reading. I'm headed to my bookshelf for the Peter Adams book now . . .
 

ColinFraser

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I'm wondering if I could use the fact that they callus/scar heavily while growing to close the large cuts that would be left on the trunk if I remove everything down to one trunkline . . .
 

cmeg1

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I'm liking the one trunk line idea.Something like what Jeremy did,or how his was made.You'd think it would bud good afterwards and then let it run a bit to close wounds then maybe trim back to get where Jeremy was with his.
Nice pickup ,by the way.
 

ColinFraser

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Cut harder
I'd put this in a larger pot for development.
Actually, before you guys could even say it, I did both of those ;)
Scars or not, I can't put up with the idea of letting all of this seasons growth go to waste if it's above my future cuts. Also, the roots were an ugly mess. The more I looked at the tree, the more I started probing around the muck in the pot - not nice, so out it came. Lots of crossing and dead roots and not many feeders :(
EDIT:
image.jpeg
 

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