Got some crab apples....now what?

the miniaturizer

Seedling
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I was walking through Lowes the other day and noticed that they had a rack of trees that had been badly scorched by the terrible Texas heat this summer that were on sale for $5 each. They were cheap enough that even though they looked bad and dont appear to me to have any bonsai potential I bought three "Harvest Gold" Crab Apples. I've heard that crab apples are hardy trees so they could recover, and if they dont, well I'm only out 15 bucks.

I brought them home and planted them in my yard in Miracle Grow tree and shrub soil that was recommended by the pimply kid at Lowes. Hopefully that helps them. According to him, all they'll need is this soil and water for the first 3 months.

Each of the trees is about 7 feet tall, but they dont have much foliage. They're about 1-1 1/4 inches around the bottom of the trunk.

What should I do to try to help these recover? Eventually, I'd like to dig up at least 1 and start getting some bonsai experience with it. What should I do to prepare them for that?
 

Mike423

Shohin
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Right now I would just be concerned about getting them healthy and boosting their vigor for at least the next year or two. When you begin to shape them for bonsai it sound like a few trunk chops will be in order so I would research that a little. Its important they are healthy and have good vigor when the chop is done as it will dictate how vigorously and how numerous new branching forms and will dictate what you will have to work with as far as branching goes.
 

jk_lewis

Masterpiece
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Put them in the ground and leave them there for at least a year so they can regain health and vigor. Water and fertilize regularly, but do a bare minimum of pruning. Let them go wild.
 

discusmike

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You might also want to inspect to see if they are grafted,i would think most likely,if so a airlayer might be more practical then chopping,alot of the nursery grafts around my way are unsightly.
 

the miniaturizer

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Please pardon my ignorance, but how do I check to see if they're grafted? Will there be a visible seam somewhere?
 

Dav4

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Please pardon my ignorance, but how do I check to see if they're grafted? Will there be a visible seam somewhere?

Yes, usually there will be an obvious and immediate change in trunk diameter and/or bark texture above and below the graft site. The location of the graft will either be several inches above the roots (you might need to dig down into the soil a bit to find it), or 3 or 4 feet up the trunk just before the branching begins (weeping varieties tend to be grafted like this).
 

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