Apple tree collection

aml1014

Masterpiece
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
5,770
Location
Albuquerque new mexico
USDA Zone
7b
Today I was talking with my mom about the plants in her back yard and I asked if I could take some airlayers from the Apple tree out back, she says " you can take the whole fuckin tree, I Haye it" and I tell her okay, I'll be there soon to pick it up lol. We are having what seems to be our last cold snap of the year, and it's not even a very bad one, next week we start getting into the high 60s and mid 30s and it only looks like it's gonna get warmer from there. So my question is, should I dig it before budds swell or wail until they are swelling? Oh and it's 20+ years old so it's quite a beast. Thanks for any advice before hand. I'll post some pics on friday when I go over there next.

Aaron
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
27,935
Reaction score
37,843
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Jerry Norbury has some airlayers from Apple's.....

Id look for some layers...

Then cut it down or collect IT next year!

Sorce
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
Messages
14,185
Reaction score
21,657
Location
Mio Michigan
USDA Zone
4
Dig it op as the buds swell. Chop it before you dig it up though. Easier to handle and you won't need any of the top stuff anyway.
 

jeanluc83

Omono
Messages
1,452
Reaction score
1,592
Location
Eastern Connecticut
USDA Zone
6a
Dig it op as the buds swell. Chop it before you dig it up though. Easier to handle and you won't need any of the top stuff anyway.

If you are collecting a stump I've found it helpful to chop the trunk at 3' or so above the soil line then do the final chop once you have it out of the ground. The longer top gives you a little more leverage to get to the roots beneath the root ball. It also gives you someplace to grab the trunk where you don't have to worry about damaging anything.
 

Cadillactaste

Neagari Gal
Messages
13,557
Reaction score
14,100
Location
NE Ohio: zone 5b (USA)
USDA Zone
5b
Lucky dog you! Congrats on that prize to come...I have contemplated...visiting an apple orchard and see if they have any damaged old trees they might spare...maybe one. Doubt it...I would imagine they tend them well. But...you know...pipe dreams. Lol share a photo for this tree please. And good luck on the dig.
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,419
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Today I was talking with my mom about the plants in her back yard and I asked if I could take some airlayers from the Apple tree out back, she says " you can take the whole fuckin tree, I Haye it" and I tell her okay, I'll be there soon to pick it up lol. We are having what seems to be our last cold snap of the year, and it's not even a very bad one, next week we start getting into the high 60s and mid 30s and it only looks like it's gonna get warmer from there. So my question is, should I dig it before budds swell or wail until they are swelling? Oh and it's 20+ years old so it's quite a beast. Thanks for any advice before hand. I'll post some pics on friday when I go over there next.

Aaron
Twenty years old? How big is the trunk?

I had to grub out and haul away a ten year old crabapple from my mother in laws front yard. Damn thing was two feet in diameter, ten feet tall and 25 feet across the mid canopy. Took me two chain saws, a busted shovel, a brush saw, an eight foot pry bar, an entire Sunday and 10 lbs body weight to get that tree out. Resulting crater left behind was five feet deep (had to dig around the water main to make sure it wasn't damaged).

The trunk was not useable as bonsai, far too large to make anything worthwhile....

FWIW, assuming cold weather is over is a very very very bad thing to do...If it's a beast and you get it out and it decides to freeze again in a couple of weeks, how you gonna get it sheltered? All the backbreaking work you're going to put into it will be wasted. Penny wise, pound foolish to dig at this point...
 

bonsaiBlake

Chumono
Messages
641
Reaction score
298
Location
Bering sea, AK Orginally from Vancover, wa
Lucky dog you! Congrats on that prize to come...I have contemplated...visiting an apple orchard and see if they have any damaged old trees they might spare...maybe one. Doubt it...I would imagine they tend them well. But...you know...pipe dreams. Lol share a photo for this tree please. And good luck on the dig.
You might be surprised. . .I've gotten lots of fire wood from orchards and trees age out at some point. . .
 

aml1014

Masterpiece
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
5,770
Location
Albuquerque new mexico
USDA Zone
7b
Twenty years old? How big is the trunk?

I had to grub out and haul away a ten year old crabapple from my mother in laws front yard. Damn thing was two feet in diameter, ten feet tall and 25 feet across the mid canopy. Took me two chain saws, a busted shovel, a brush saw, an eight foot pry bar, an entire Sunday and 10 lbs body weight to get that tree out. Resulting crater left behind was five feet deep (had to dig around the water main to make sure it wasn't damaged).

The trunk was not useable as bonsai, far too large to make anything worthwhile....

FWIW, assuming cold weather is over is a very very very bad thing to do...If it's a beast and you get it out and it decides to freeze again in a couple of weeks, how you gonna get it sheltered? All the backbreaking work you're going to put into it will be wasted. Penny wise, pound foolish to dig at this point...
It is a semi dwarf species and apples don't do perticularly well in the landscape here so it's had a hard life, it's only about 18 feet tall and about the same width, and the trunk flair is around 12 inches. Definitely not as big as your crabapple but still a good size that I can actually make something usable out of it, it also has gorgeous old bark.

Aaron
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,419
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Apple trees wear out over time, declining in production. They're regularly torn out, cut up and replaced with younger more productive stock in working orchards. You're not likely to be given permission to dig one out of a working orchard, BUT you might ask about trees that have kind of strayed from the main site or have been abandon on old sites. You don't look for old production trees, you look for stuff along old fence rows (especially near cow pastures) for grazed or chopped trees.
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
Messages
14,185
Reaction score
21,657
Location
Mio Michigan
USDA Zone
4
If you are collecting a stump I've found it helpful to chop the trunk at 3' or so above the soil line then do the final chop once you have it out of the ground. The longer top gives you a little more leverage to get to the roots beneath the root ball. It also gives you someplace to grab the trunk where you don't have to worry about damaging anything.
I never grasp the trunk when collecting to help pry it out. You are putting undue stress on what roots you have. Likewise I never carry a collected tree by the trunk. I make sure all of the roots are cut then lift the tree with a shovel with my left hand on the point of the shovel to hold it on there. Gently.
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,419
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
It is a semi dwarf species and apples don't do perticularly well in the landscape here so it's had a hard life, it's only about 18 feet tall and about the same width, and the trunk flair is around 12 inches. Definitely not as big as your crabapple but still a good size that I can actually make something usable out of it, it also has gorgeous old bark.

Aaron
Be careful, sometimes you get what you wish for.:) At 18 feet, 20 years old, I'd guess you're going to have your work cut out for you. To get a better idea of that, next time you get next to it, give it a good solid shove to one side with your hand. If the root crown moves, you may have a shot. If it doesn't and acts like its in cement, buy two chainsaws...
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
27,935
Reaction score
37,843
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Amen....

Pest magnets.

Sorce
 

aml1014

Masterpiece
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
5,770
Location
Albuquerque new mexico
USDA Zone
7b
Be careful with apples I hear they have a des ease that can spread to other trees. I forget what it's called. Apple rust maybe??
I think I can handle the risk, some of my most fond memories when I was a kid was always around that apple tree.:) my idea is to take 360° pics of the tree and hopefully work my tree towards what it once was but as a bonsai.

Aaron
 

Waltron

Chumono
Messages
955
Reaction score
1,176
Location
Southern Michigan
USDA Zone
6a
I dug up a crab apple last year, severe trunk chop, and tap root chop. they can take a beating and come back.

 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,419
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
FWIW, I had a pretty good apple bonsai I got from Chase Rosade 15 years ago. I loved it. It was awesome--until it wore me out.

I kept it for eight or nine years then had to sell it. It was a gigantic pain in the behind. It drew bugs of every description into my backyard, from aphids to wooly adelgids, to Japanese beetles and borers and everything in between. It was the only tree I've ever used a massive program of preventative insecticide spraying for, beginning in the spring and lasting into early winter.

In addition to the bugs (and expect A LOT of borer issues with landscape apple trunks cut down into bonsai--all that exposed fruitwood from the trunk chop is a candy store for them and they can smell it a half mile away--literally). Expect mold and fungus issues too, especially in summer. Also expect intense rodent interest in the autumn and winter. Winter storage has to be cold, but sheltered. That shelter can become a death trap for the tree if mice and other critters have access. They will chew off bark, twigs and branches and can wind up killing even large apples if they succeed in girdling the trunk when they're dining out. Deep snow cover can mean big trouble as mice will tunnel to your apple and set up shop.

Also, if it's not a prolific blooming crab cultivar, expect some pruning issues. It can take a bit of effort and correct timing to get blossoms on some breeds, especially regular orchard-type cultivars. You have to build up blossoming tissue in branches (and be able to recognize what that looks like).

All this is worth it--IF the tree you have is really nice -- and older apple bonsai are extremely picturesque. However, the effort required to keep them can become a real, REAL drag, especially if your tree is outright killed by a mouse one winter.

Toringo crab apple at the National Arboretum.
 

Attachments

  • toringo.jpg
    toringo.jpg
    107.9 KB · Views: 128

Nybonsai12

Masterpiece
Messages
3,189
Reaction score
4,695
Location
NY
USDA Zone
7a
Be careful with apples I hear they have a des ease that can spread to other trees. I forget what it's called. Apple rust maybe??

Yep Apple Cedar rust. From Apple to juniper, to cedar... the crap jumps around. Some folks have better luck, but I have had a real tough time keeping mine healthy. I'm ditching it this year.
 

aml1014

Masterpiece
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
5,770
Location
Albuquerque new mexico
USDA Zone
7b
FWIW, I had a pretty good apple bonsai I got from Chase Rosade 15 years ago. I loved it. It was awesome--until it wore me out.

I kept it for eight or nine years then had to sell it. It was a gigantic pain in the behind. It drew bugs of every description into my backyard, from aphids to wooly adelgids, to Japanese beetles and borers and everything in between. It was the only tree I've ever used a massive program of preventative insecticide spraying for, beginning in the spring and lasting into early winter.

In addition to the bugs (and expect A LOT of borer issues with landscape apple trunks cut down into bonsai--all that exposed fruitwood from the trunk chop is a candy store for them and they can smell it a half mile away--literally). Expect mold and fungus issues too, especially in summer. Also expect intense rodent interest in the autumn and winter. Winter storage has to be cold, but sheltered. That shelter can become a death trap for the tree if mice and other critters have access. They will chew off bark, twigs and branches and can wind up killing even large apples if they succeed in girdling the trunk when they're dining out. Deep snow cover can mean big trouble as mice will tunnel to your apple and set up shop.

Also, if it's not a prolific blooming crab cultivar, expect some pruning issues. It can take a bit of effort and correct timing to get blossoms on some breeds, especially regular orchard-type cultivars. You have to build up blossoming tissue in branches (and be able to recognize what that looks like).

All this is worth it--IF the tree you have is really nice -- and older apple bonsai are extremely picturesque. However, the effort required to keep them can become a real, REAL drag, especially if your tree is outright killed by a mouse one winter.

Toringo crab apple at the National Arboretum.
That is a gorgeous tree, I'm definitely willing to take on bugs that's my job after all, literally, I work at a landscape nursery with the trees and shrubs and have become fairly good at getting rid of bugs and if all else fails, we have the tuff stuff at work;)
I'll post some pics of my tree this evening.
Aaron
 

aml1014

Masterpiece
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
5,770
Location
Albuquerque new mexico
USDA Zone
7b
Corry for the bad pics, it's starting to get dark and my phone doesn't like to focus but here it is.

Aaron

20160205_174726.jpg 20160205_174736.jpg
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom