Deadwood on crabapple?

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I saw a twin trunk crabapple today that struck a chord, but I realized that one of the main features I liked was a bit of old stump that gave it particular character to make it stand out from any other twin trunk.

Stuck in the back of my head though - does that have to go?

Anyone know off the top of their head? Would it end up rotting, or could it be preserved as deadwood? I know on maples, for instance, deadwood is a no go, but it seems like it gets a little bit loosey goosey on some other species and becomes more of a style preference rather than horticultural issue.

Curious to hear your thoughts.
 

Forsoothe!

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It all depends upon if you are willing to do the annual/semi-annual treating with lime sulfur, bleach, or whatever agent you use.
 
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It all depends upon if you are willing to do the annual/semi-annual treating with lime sulfur, bleach, or whatever agent you use.

Is that deciduous specific or the standard practice you’d use for say junipers?
 

Cadillactaste

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You could use a non-lime-sulphur wood hardener so you don't bleach it out.

I bought some PC-Petrifier, but haven't used it yet - I've heard good things somewhere around here.
Brian Van Fleet speaks highly of PC wood hardener. I bought some for a landscape tree not long ago...but then a Robin set up nest near the area. Waiting patiently for her to leave.
 
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Interesting - so in terms of "by the book bonsai" so to speak, it wouldn't fly per the tradition, but it IS doable

I'm still thinking about this dang tree. Kinda have enough projects tho.
 

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You could use a non-lime-sulphur wood hardener so you don't bleach it out.

I bought some PC-Petrifier, but haven't used it yet - I've heard good things somewhere around here.
I like white white. I don't like lime sulfur yella. We each, choose. Using "hardener" which is clear paint is a double-edged sword, too. One, single coat or else. If the surface has enough integrity it will, over time, peel and look funny because the parts that peel will further evolve to a different color/hue/texture than the part under the seal of the paint. The paint can be urethane, or epoxy, or acrylic, or whatever but the principles are the same: a very thin coat will "reticulate" which is the fancy way of saying break down and allow breathing of the surface so no pressure from trapped gasses underneath cause the film to release from individual fibers of the surface and separate from the surface like a balloon skin on a micro-scale. This best example of this principle is the use of stains in place of "paint" which is a united film instead of just a colorant that leaves a "stain". Stains never need surface prep to re-stain, and paints always have blisters, yada, yada, which need to addressed before re-painting. One, single, thin coat. Or else.
 

ShadyStump

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On @badatusernames 's original thought, there's a difference between tradition and possibility. I say if you can find a way to do it and can do it right, go for it.
In big trees I've seen dead wood on malus and acer last year's, so if you can find a product that will preserve it it's worth a try.

@Forsoothe! makes a good point there. I imagine there are treatment products that will avoid those issues, it's a matter of cost and availability.
I've thought about treating other wood products with mineral solutions before, something that would potentially prevent rot, but I don't know enough chemistry to say where to start.
Linseed oil has been used to weatherproof and preserve all types of wood for centuries. Could this possibly work on bonsai if applied right?
 

Potawatomi13

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ANY kind tree can have deadwood and great character. Some snobs claim "tradition" forbids/frowns upon this or that thing. Also dead wood does not HAVE to be preserved. Can be allowed to decay naturally. Simply matter of choice/personal character or individuality;).
 

Bnana

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The problem with not preserving it is that it can rot away quickly, depending on the species. In real trees this takes time, in bonsai a lot less as it is smaller.
The white colour of lime sulfur works for juniper, suggesting it's sun bleached but for most other species (including broadleaved but also larch and northern pines) I think it looks unnatural. Linseed oil is a better alternative for these species.
 

sorce

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Pics?

I don't mind deadwood until it's at the soil line.

Sorce
 

Forsoothe!

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All above are correct and I concur that if you want it, go for it as long as you understand there are consequences and maintenance and there will always be people that say you can't do that. Here are some examples: A Korean Lilac that I've had for umpteen years that has a section that is rotting away. I clean it up a couple times a year and the rot continues, but the tree is growing at about the same pace, so it's a net-net stand-off and the tree is growing normally, otherwise. I didn't plan this, it just appeared one day and continues. I've tried to bleach it but that shows no effect. the hole thru goes all the way through...
L MK 2020_1013 color tour hole thru.JPG
L MK a.JPG
Wood turns whatever color it will, and I think lots of species will not go white no matter what you do. I bleach this 'Green Mound' Fig twice a year and it stays the color you see. I also doesn't rot. It has not changed in ~10 years except it is getting grown over and about 50% covered...
FGM 1.JPG
10 years ago the deadwood was at the same level as the cambium layer just under the bark. I have bleached other trees that the wood was dark and turned black and stayed black, I can't remember which one. Treating with linseed oil or tung oil would probably color up the wood temporarily the same as wood on chairs or tables or boat trim, and then weather to a less bright surface. Physically, it would be intermediate between stain and paint: it would be absorbed into the fibers and then the outer surface of the wood fiber would slowly decay and slough off, but since it is within the fiber the process of surface decay would be greatly slowed. I speculate that you would need to re-apply every 5 or 10 years to maintain some presence to slow down decay, all depending upon the thickness of the wood fiber, but not build up a impenetrable film that would act like "paint".
 
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The problem with not preserving it is that it can rot away quickly, depending on the species. In real trees this takes time, in bonsai a lot less as it is smaller.
The white colour of lime sulfur works for juniper, suggesting it's sun bleached but for most other species (including broadleaved but also larch and northern pines) I think it looks unnatural. Linseed oil is a better alternative for these species.

that’s helpful - yeah i’m new enough that i want to ensure i at least understand if and when I’m breaking “the rules”, i see them less as a constraint as more as a control variable as I figure all this out
 

ShadyStump

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that’s helpful - yeah i’m new enough that i want to ensure i at least understand if and when I’m breaking “the rules”, i see them less as a constraint as more as a control variable as I figure all this out
Of all the conversations on here about the various philosophies surrounding "the rules" of bonsai, I've never heard it put quite like that. It's a sentiment I can appreciate.
 

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