Shohin Siebold's crabapple

Fishtank307

Shohin
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I just got this tiny shohin crabapple (Malus sieboldii). The previous owner chopped the trunk 3 years ago. It's growing very vigorously! The top has a nice taper and there are a lot of branches to work with. The scar is still very visible, but healing nicely.
The branch at the top will be cut back in a couple of weeks. Next winter I will wire the lower branches and begin its first styling. WP_20170709_16_59_10_Pro.jpg WP_20170709_16_59_16_Pro.jpg WP_20170710_14_40_22_Pro.jpg WP_20170710_14_40_22_Pro2.jpg
 

Fishtank307

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Now that the leaves have started to drop, I decided to take a closer look at this crabapple.

I had already applied simple guy wires to bring down two bottom branches.
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The nebari and base look terrible at the moment: one big scar from a big root that was cut and another two big roots that weren't cut. I probably have to ground layer it. Maybe next year...

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One of the remaining big roots...
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The previous owner mainly used a cut and grow technique. There are a couple of branches with nice movement and structure. I wired one branch that was growing straight as an arrow. I'll probably cut this one next spring. (I bend it more to the left after I had taken the picture...)

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Right now...

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The two scars will always be visible, so I'm thinking of choosing the back of the tree as a new front. I think the previous owner grew the branches with the scarred side as a front...

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I'd have to prune two eyepoker-branches and one branch that crowds the view on the right side. Maybe cut a little of the top as well, I don't know yet... I think this could work as a front. Any thoughts?
 

JudyB

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This is a much better front choice if you ask me. I would lean the tree to the left even more and then keep wiring the branching to the right at the top. The one thing that makes smaller trees look good is more extreme movement than you'd have in a larger package. I would maybe turn the tree a tiny bit clockwise, so your bottom branch isn't coming so far towards the viewer. But it's not really an eye poker anyway, as it trends to the left, which you can get some wire on and do some bending with. You should fully wire this tree and get some bending in 3 dimensions on all that branching. Nice start.
 

Fishtank307

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The buds were already starting to swell, so I decided to repot and check the roots for the first time.
Three large roots on the backside.
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Removed one small root on the front that was growing above the soil line. I was a bit disappointed to discover the lack of roots in the front... I applied a tourniquet (not visible) around the root that's growing downward. Hopefully this will result in new roots to fill in the gap!
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I shortened the larger roots as well, leaving as much feeder roots as possible. They'll be reduced over the next couple of years. Eventually I'd like to develop a nice nebari, with many smaller roots around the base! Now there are only 3 large lateral roots.
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After a couple of days the buds opened! I'll have to keep it inside for now, especially during the night. We've had a very mild winter here, but this week temps will drop to -7°C!
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The end result for now. Some of the lower (secondary) branches need to grow thicker. I'll make sure to not prune them untill next year. Then I will prune them back to the first bud to create some more movement.
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I'm still learning, so tips are appreciated!
 

Fishtank307

Shohin
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I may have removed the wire a little early, especially the wire on the bottom branches. I already applied a guy wire to the left bottom branch, but I forgot the one on the right!
Also, I noticed some brown leaves... I don't know if it's fungus or mites. Lately I noticed black spots on the needles of my conifers, and strings of silk... I really have to pay close attention to this.

Branch in the middle there needs to thicken up!
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Would it be a good idea to cut back new the new shoots to 2 or 3 leaves to induce backbudding? (on branches that don't need thickening) My idea is that by doing this, I could create more natural movement in branches when I cut them back hard in late fall.
Thoughts?
 

Cadillactaste

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Apple scab is the most prominent issue with these...is what my landscape guy says. (He treats the back yard...and prunes my larger front tree. Last year gave it a hormone treatment to keep the energy from being spent on growth of branches and keep it for overall health of tree.) Be diligent in fungal treatment regiments. Have a crab myself...and he warned me of its flight of needing to be on top of things. He finds my bonsai rather neat.
 

Cadillactaste

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Yeah, I looked up the most common problems with apple trees and apple scab came up in most search results! I'll keep an eye on it and treat it if it is indeed scab. Thanks!
Best to keep fall clean up around this tree tidy. Early spring treat...as a preventative. Is what I was told. Being proactive is the only way to not get it is what my guy said.
 

Fishtank307

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Growing well! I pruned some of the shoots in april, hoping to build some rammification. Unfortunately, there were dormant buds close to the shoots I had pruned. So they were the first to start growing. I had hoped some of the buds closer to the trunk would have started growing, but alas, no explosive growth there.
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Red circle: new growth after pruning the first shoots in spring.

Blue circle: what I had hoped was going to be the new growth after pruning.
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I'm going to cut the shoot again in mid summer, hoping for some more backbudding close to the trunk.

Also, in just a couple of days a lot of the leaves turned brown/dark greenish. We've had some stormy weather with high humidity the last days. So I think this is indeed scab. So I'll have to look after that this fall and next spring!
 

Fishtank307

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Your blue circled "bud" appears to be a "fruiting spur". These growths are specific to apples. They are not vegetative buds, and they will not produce branches. They only make flowers and fruit.

How embarrasing... I've read your tips on rammification on apple trees in another post. Very useful information! Do you think it would be a good idea to cut back once more in the summer?
 

Stan Kengai

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For building ramification, you can cut back any time during the growing season. Just be aware that this can inhibit flowering on those branches for several years. The best practice for ramifying crabapples, and getting them to flower, is to nip the terminal buds early in spring when the new shoots are about an inch long. Then let them run for the remainder of the growing season, and in the fall, cut this year's shoots back to where you nipped them in the spring in. The next spring you should get 2 or 3 new shoots in those areas.

After you have nipped the early shoots, feel free to trim shoots that may be thickening too much and/or defoliate them to allow light to the inner parts of the plant. These branches are going to be cut off anyway.
 

Fishtank307

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Autumn update, before pruning and wiring :)

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I should cut back the top a little more. It's a bit too tall right now and the apex is leaning backwards...
Next year I should really try to get some more rammification closer to the trunk. So I should cut back a little more into the older wood and then cut back the shoots that appear in spring/early summer.

Thanks for all your advice btw. You guys are great :)
 

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