How realistic is this Malus project?

Fonz

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I live in area where lots of apple and pear farmers have their growing fields. Once in a while a field gets cleaned out to make room for new trees. A little over a month ago I went to one of those fields where all the trees where being pulled out of the ground to get put through a shredder. One of my friends was the excecutioner on duty. He told me I could get as many trees as I wanted. I went with 1....

So long story short, I cut the top off a big trunk apple tree, dug out the rest of the trunk, took it home and planted it in a big masons tub filled with molar clay pebbles.
The plan is to let it recover for a year and then attempt an air-layer where the green line is on one of pictures below and cut of the big branches so I will end up with a 15-20" stump. That stump would be carved so the tree will get some kind of hollow trunk. New shoots (which are already forming on the trunk) will become the future branches.

My question to the experts is: How realistic is this? Will the air-layer work on such a big (old?) trunk?
And yes, I know it will take 200 years to get something decent :)

Picture 1: The apple tree field

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Picture 2: The "Chosen One" already decapitated

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Picture 3: The tree as it is today

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Picture 4: New buds are sprouting

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Picture 5: Red Lines: Branches will get cut here later
Green line: An air-layer attempt will be done next year or so.

20200511_153429-edit.jpg
 

Shibui

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Wow that looks like an almost endless source of nice thick trunks!
The problem will now be avoiding the angry orchardist stomping round with a shotgun complaining about the bastards what have been digging up trees!
 

Colorado

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He said they were being dug and thrown in the wood chipper anyway :)

This looks like a lot of fun! Nice big trunk 😎
 

Lazylightningny

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Not to bring you down, but that trunk is too big and straight and without character imho. I would have chosen a smaller one with more movement. Can you still go back?
 

sorce

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Forgive me for this jarring attempt to make an impact on your thoughts.......

But....

This is quite like Hugh Heffner opening the doors to the Playboy Mansion for you and you alone, and you spend the day playing with the neighbors dog!

Like going to the produce section and buying the rotten apple.

Like purposely burning the winning lotto ticket.

Like eenie meenie miney... anything...and you still pick Moe!

Flip that Collar up and get back there!

Sorce
 

Lazylightningny

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This is quite like Hugh Heffner opening the doors to the Playboy Mansion for you and you alone, and you spend the day playing with the neighbors dog!
Which reminds me of a story. I was once dating a Brooklyn girl. Her father was in the Mafia. Literally. So one day he invites me to go to Atlantic City with his daughter. But I had a conflict on that day with a special birthday bbq at my grandma's house. So being the filial grandson I opted to go the family bbq.

As it turns out, Frank Sinatra decided to sit in at the table with my girlfriend's family.

Which reminds me of another story. These same grandparents belonged to a Playboy club that was, at the time, in NJ. I hit it off with one of the bunnies and she invited me to join her after she got off work that evening. I told her I'd return after bringing my grandparents home. And of course the car broke down on the way home and I never made it back.

Lost opportunities. Go back and get another tree!
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Just in fonz's defense: all apple trees from apple growers look like that around here, they're grown and cut for apple production. After a couple decades the taper and vigor is gone.

The orchard owners I know sell old/dead trunks to indoor decorators for 300 euros a piece. So getting a live one without fighting some artsy lady over it, is an achievement by itself.
 

Fonz

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Thanx for all the input.
The day after I got the tree the orchard was empty.
I know it's long and straight but the plan is to make it short and carved up like a mexican drug dealer.

Danny Use had an apple tree like this on one of his facebook movies recently:

malus-carved-trunk.jpg
 

Lazylightningny

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Thanx for all the input.
The day after I got the tree the orchard was empty.
Wow, they didn't waste any time! You're lucky you got the one you did.

The orchard owners I know sell old/dead trunks to indoor decorators for 300 euros a piece.
Why can't I ever come up with ideas like this? I'm so stupid, I just work like a slave.
 

rockm

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Careful sometimes you get what you wish for. Apples are great bonsai material --carving makes sense with the kind of boring trunk. However, apples are also A LOT of work. They require constant attention as they draw every kind of aphid, borer, lacewing, adelgids, etc. in the area. Mold and other fungal infections are also common and need to be controlled. Borers are attracted to apple deadwood like iron to a magnet too. They can wind up girdling the tree too if left unchecked. Blooms can also be an issue, as some apples will refuse to flower. It can take controlled pruning to induce flowering.

I had a big apple bonsai for a while 15 years ago. It was a pain in the neck since it had all of the above issues. It was hardy as hell and indestructible for the most part, but the constant spraying for fungus/insects got old after a few years. Finally sold it.
 

Fonz

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Careful sometimes you get what you wish for. Apples are great bonsai material --carving makes sense with the kind of boring trunk. However, apples are also A LOT of work. They require constant attention as they draw every kind of aphid, borer, lacewing, adelgids, etc. in the area. Mold and other fungal infections are also common and need to be controlled. Borers are attracted to apple deadwood like iron to a magnet too. They can wind up girdling the tree too if left unchecked. Blooms can also be an issue, as some apples will refuse to flower. It can take controlled pruning to induce flowering.

I had a big apple bonsai for a while 15 years ago. It was a pain in the neck since it had all of the above issues. It was hardy as hell and indestructible for the most part, but the constant spraying for fungus/insects got old after a few years. Finally sold it.
Thanks for getting my hopes up :D
I have a few 3 year old apple seedlings. And indeed, the fungal/mold/aphid thing got them struggeling every year so far.
Anyway, we'll see how it turns out :)
 
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