Crab Apple questions

Vance Wood

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Any one have any experience growing Crab Apple from seed? My question to you is this. I have a Crab Apple that is nearing twenty years old and have never had a single bloom on it. Short of grafting from the parent plant, which I have considered a time or two, is there any way to get this guy to bloom?
 

Mike423

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Wow, so this tree has never bloomed in 20 years??? And it was cloned in some fashion from a parent tree that does bloom regularly? Assuming your fertilizing it right and its healthy i dont see why it shouldn't bloom. That's strange I've never heard of a crab apple that wouldn't bloom (other than having one or two off years). Is there any other information you could give such as the trees linage or origin that could possibly help?

I have grown some from seeds but their still seedlings (2 years) so the haven't matured yet to the point of bearing flowers or fruits, but I do have 2 advanced specimens as works in progress that do (originating form air-layers).
 
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Vance Wood

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Wow, so this tree has never bloomed in 20 years??? And it was cloned in some fashion from a parent tree that does bloom regularly? Assuming your fertilizing it right and its healthy i dont see why it shouldn't bloom. That's strange I've never heard of a crab apple that wouldn't bloom (other than having one or two off years). Is there any other information you could give such as the trees linage or origin that could possibly help?

I have grown some from seeds but their still seedlings (2 years) so the haven't matured yet to the point of bearing flowers or fruits, but I do have 2 advanced specimens as works in progress that do (originating form air-layers).

The tree is from a seed off of one of the red cultivars. I have heard that seed grown Crabs are slow to bloom but this is ridiculous. It has too beautiful a trunk to toss out and would really like it to function off its own wood. If I get no flowers this spring I am going to graft some branches onto it.
 

Brian Underwood

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I have a few, but they have always bloomed. I follow a rule to never prune after July (in my climate) as I have heard that they tend to not bloom the following spring. I leave them in full sun with plenty of fertilizer, but I'm sure you do that as well. Sometimes if a tree is stressed it will put out LOTS of blossoms and fruit in an attempt to reproduce as much as possible before perishing. Perhaps you could start telling it about the economy, and how if it doesn't bloom you'll torture it, something stressful...
 

Vance Wood

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I have a few, but they have always bloomed. I follow a rule to never prune after July (in my climate) as I have heard that they tend to not bloom the following spring. I leave them in full sun with plenty of fertilizer, but I'm sure you do that as well. Sometimes if a tree is stressed it will put out LOTS of blossoms and fruit in an attempt to reproduce as much as possible before perishing. Perhaps you could start telling it about the economy, and how if it doesn't bloom you'll torture it, something stressful...

Are yours grown from seed? I have tried every thing. Maybe I need to change fertilizer, threats don't work it just gives up a branch; a sort of horticultural version of the finger I suppose.
 

Bill S

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I seem to remember that some can wait till thier 25 birthday.

Pruning can and will make a difference, but I defer to your experiance and would think that this has had years that all it did was grow, so I am thinking that although 20 years is a long wait, you might need more patience grasshopper.:D
 

Vance Wood

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I seem to remember that some can wait till thier 25 birthday.

Pruning can and will make a difference, but I defer to your experiance and would think that this has had years that all it did was grow, so I am thinking that although 20 years is a long wait, you might need more patience grasshopper.:D

Boo---Whoo. Not what I wanted to hear but some things you can't change. Thanks for posting what I was already afraid of.
 

crhabq

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Vance,

I seem to remember from the book Botony for Bonsia, that root pruning encourages flowering, new root tips producing auxin and thus procuding more flowering. An Ohio State University web page on growing wisteria also states that root pruning will encourage more flowering. If the crab is 20 yrs old, I'm sure that you have root pruned it before.

The book, Botony for Bonsia, is not worth the money. Its either horribly written or terribly edited, or maybe both. I believe I've passed on the one worthwhile tip from the book.

Maybe a harder root pruning would produce flowers in two years or so.

Ray
 

Brian Underwood

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I would imagine mine are all from cuttings, but most are older than me, so I can't tell for sure. If crabapples are anything like normal apples, genetics are not exactly the same in the seeds and a seed from a specific cultivar may yield a completely different tree. Sorry Vance, I hope the tree stops giving you the finger and starts producing. If not, you can always make an appointment with Miniature Plant Kingdom and pick through the rest of the stock there. I think all my apples are from Don, and there are some decent trees left for very good prices. I found a nice one in the back with a 10" diameter trunk for like 40 bucks. Good luck!
 

tom tynan

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Vance: Your seed grown crab apple is an interesting problem. I am sure you have eliminated the obvious - but to be sure,,,go with a low nitrogen and higher phosphate fertilizer to encourage flower buds. Do not over prune - I believe if you do..you will get non-flowering shoots. If you do re-pot- do it every other year or maybe every third year if you can. Sometimes [such as a with a wisteria] a root bound tree senses the stress and is tricked therefore to reproduce. Watch also for mid-summer, late summer heat stress; if a crab apple really gets scorched - it will likely not flower. Lastly - since most growers propogate crab apples by means of cuttings etc. and not by growing from seed - you have to admit that this seed grown tree may just take longer than normal to flower. In that case - and as a last resort - I might replant it in the field for 3 to 5 years to build up strength and create more older wood. Good luck...Tom
 

Paulpash

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Vance, why not consider thread grafting from a cultivar that is already blooming? If your primary branch structure is good then thread graft into that and regrow the secondaries etc. They'd take within a season then 2 or 3 years to get a decent set of tertiaries and you'd be guaranteed blooms and fruit :) The waiting game hasn't paid off - time for something a bit more radical??
 

Vance Wood

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Vance, why not consider thread grafting from a cultivar that is already blooming? If your primary branch structure is good then thread graft into that and regrow the secondaries etc. They'd take within a season then 2 or 3 years to get a decent set of tertiaries and you'd be guaranteed blooms and fruit :) The waiting game hasn't paid off - time for something a bit more radical??

That option is being considered.
 

sorce

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Did it ever bloom?

?

I read about getting something to flower by enclosimg it with a rotting apple. It gives off something that induces flowering.

I forget what both somethings were though!

Good luck!
 

mcpesq817

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Brent was selling some Toringo crab apple cuttings, where I believe the parent was from seed. I think he said that the parent was close to 20 years old, but still hadn't flowered - but, it should flower any year now.

I think some varieties just take much longer. I have a Mary Potter in the ground that I believe was from seed. Six years later, and it finally flowered this year.
 

GrimLore

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Don't most all apples need another variety nearby for pollination? Been thinking about this thread and looking at the notes I have on Dolgo Crabapples. At the old place they did not even flower for the first 4 years. When I moved them here we had flowers for the first time but no fruit. I am not an expert but I am thinking I need another variety nearby...

Grimmy
 

RustyNail

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go to ehow it tell's a lot of reasons for out door tree not blooming it may help.

Healthy crabapple trees (Malus spp.) produce the best flower displays in springtime. Young saplings or very old trees may not produce flowers because their energy and food reserves are expended in growing roots and leaves.


Significance of Winter



Crabapples must undergo a process formally called vernalization to produce flower buds. Vernalization occurs during the winter when the tree rests dormant. Prolonged temperatures below 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit result in successful vernalization. Without it, trees sprout only leaves, not flowers, in spring.


Geography



The need for ample winter cold limits the broad use of crabapples in gardens to regions with the proper winter climate. The common range for crabapples culture extends across U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3b through 8a. Alternatively, too bitterly cold temperatures kill branches on crabapple trees, preventing flowering in spring.



Growth Needs



Once vernalization occurs and the crabapple grows healthfully in a fertile, moist, well-drained soil, ample sunlight must bask the tree for flowering. A bare minimum threshold of four hours of direct sun rays on a crabapple is needed for widespread flower production.

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7590624_crabapple-tree-not-blooming.html

or here

http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/crabappl.htm

hope this helps good luck.
 

drew33998

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Found This online


Inappropriate Climate

All apple trees (Malus spp.) must undergo an annual process called vernalization, which is the exposure to prolonged temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually measured in "chilling hours", if a crab apple does not endure a winter cold dormancy, flower buds will not be formed, regardless of tree health or other factors. In regions that experience early, warm springs, some varieties of crab apples may be susceptible to flower bud kill if late frosts or freezes occur. Once the crab apple forms and exposes its flower buds and new merging leaves, subfreezing temperatures can fully burn and destroy the flowers, whereas new foliage will be rejuvenated by the tree.



Drought Stress

Trees that are unhealthy or stressed from drought may have diminished flowering displays. Although flowering is in spring, an unusually dry growing season last year can cause the tree to redirect its energies into retaining foliage or growing roots rather than flower bud formation. Newly planted trees that have not been adequately watered during establishment, the first 1 to 3 years, may also diminish their flowering.

Age

Very young trees, saplings, may be too young to produce large amounts of flowers. Conversely, aged crab apple specimens may also reach a point that their vigor and productivity precludes springtime flowering as the old plant slowly degrades.

Improper Planting

Trees planted too deeply, with their trunk flares under the soil line, are often stressed and will not perform typical healthful events, including flowering. The trunk flare--the part of the trunk that widens just before transitioning into the roots at the soil line--needs to be slightly above or at the same average soil line. Deep-planted trees slowly die as oxygen is deprived from the roots and soil moisture leads to fungal and rot diseases on the buried tree bark.

Disease

Crab apples traditionally have been susceptible to blight, scab, rust diseases as well as attacks by borers or other insects. A healthy tree will stave off a casual encounter by a pest or disease, but compounded attacks can weaken a tree. These stresses, just like mentioned with drought, can cause a crab apple to focus its energies into combating the disease or pest rather than flowering, fruiting or even producing much new stem growth. Modern hybrids and selections of crab apples have been developed with greatly improved resistances to common diseases. Whereas old, "heritage" crab apple varieties may still remain highly susceptible.


Read more: Why Doesn't a Crab Apple Tree Flower? | Garden Guides http://www.gardenguides.com/88606-doesnt-crab-apple-tree-flower.html#ixzz39RyZlIpa
 

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