Another Crabapple

John Ruger

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Here are some pics from last winter of a small crabapple. I didn't let it fruit in order to conserve energy for spring work.

View attachment 17366

One thing I wanted to do is establish a lower branch on the R. I was looking to give the appearance of old age, so I initially brought part of the R branch down, but was really hoping for a lower bud to replace it...that didn't happen.

View attachment 17368


I partially wired it, but wasn't really happy with it.

The last pics were from a few days ago. I decided to get rid of the lower weak branch on the L...it never really panned out to what I was hoping for. Also, on the R, I made a wedge to open the rapidly closing gap (it was starting to fuse). The tree has some ways to go. The idea from this point is to notch out the crotch between the two leaders, reorient the base in order to eliminate the angle of the trunk, establish nice surface roots, regrow a new lower L branch, and get rid of some of the swelling on the L. I may actually try to keep some of that because in some ways it looks kinda cool, like a really old tree...we'll see.

View attachment 17363
 

Umeboshi

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Looking good, I like that fat trunk. Why develop two leaders though?
 

John Ruger

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Thank you for your reponse and compliment Umeboshi.

Actually, it's always been a preference of mine to have more than 1 leader. For me, I've always gravitated toward really old trees. Out my way in SE PA, you see the old sycamore and walnuts with a bifurcation of competing leaders. Imo it adds more 'realism' than a single tapered leader with branches radiating from that alone.
 

Umeboshi

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Interesting, do you have any images of more established trees trained like this? Also, what soil mix do you use for crabs? I have a couple of air layers that I will be separating soon. Thanks.
 

Colorado Slim

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I like the styling of the two trunks... as you suggest it does give a more natural feel... when I first got into this hobby a wise old man told me, "don't make a tree look like a bonsai, make the bonsai look like a tree."

How well will the leaves reduce on a malus? I'm airlayering off an apple branch this year and it will be my first, so I'm curious?
 

John Ruger

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Interesting, do you have any images of more established trees trained like this? Also, what soil mix do you use for crabs? I have a couple of air layers that I will be separating soon. Thanks.
Off the bat, I can't think of any...the closest idea that comes to mind is sort of like a modified broom style or a free form informal upright. As for the soil, it's a 70-30 mix of akadama and sand. Let us know how the air layers turn out; for some reason, crabs can be a coin toss whether the layers take.
 

John Ruger

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I like the styling of the two trunks... as you suggest it does give a more natural feel... when I first got into this hobby a wise old man told me, "don't make a tree look like a bonsai, make the bonsai look like a tree."

How well will the leaves reduce on a malus? I'm airlayering off an apple branch this year and it will be my first, so I'm curious?
yeah, that's probably the best advice. Crabapple leaves can get rather large in proportion to the tree. Usually what I do is 'cheat' and either third or half the leaf; I've never defoliated them completely, just selectively on older growth.
 

Umeboshi

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Off the bat, I can't think of any...the closest idea that comes to mind is sort of like a modified broom style or a free form informal upright. As for the soil, it's a 70-30 mix of akadama and sand. Let us know how the air layers turn out; for some reason, crabs can be a coin toss whether the layers take.
I made two layers on the same thick branch. The upper one has a good amount of fat pink roots, the lower one does not have any roots visible through the plastic. I hope that both have taken and that the lower one is just a bit behind the other. One of the sections that I am layering has a lot of thick branches that will need to be removed. Should I...

a. remove them now
b. remove them when I separate the layer or
c. leave them until the tree has established itself, say in a year or two?
 

John Ruger

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That's interesting, I've never heard of taking two layers off the same branch at the same time. As for pruning while layering, I've never done that off a crabapple. I've done that with junipers, so I can only say for them you almost have to because it's a lot harder to prune the upper parts after separation. I swear that somewhere here there is a post regarding pruning a crabapple before separation and the poster, if I'm not mistaken, does so regularly without any problem.
 

Umeboshi

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That's interesting, I've never heard of taking two layers off the same branch at the same time.
Here are some photos of the layers. I peeked in the lower one which was showing no roots and it is all callus tissue with little nubs but no roots. I guess it is not going to happen for that one this year. Hopefully it can make it to next spring and I can recut the layer.
 

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