Tips to get crabapple to flower

camikins

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Hi - I've had a crabapple for a number of yrs (about 4 I think). It's happy and healthy, but has not flowered.

Are there any particular pruning, or feeding tricks that I'm not doing right? I basically just feed once leaves are out, and repot every 2 to 3 yrs as needed, and try not to feed from late summer onward, nor prune from this point onward (or if I do feed, I withhold nitrogen).

Assuming that I'm missing something, that's preventing the flowering. Is there a special pruning technique, for example, that I should be following?

Thanks.
 

barrosinc

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What is the origin of this crabapple? seed, airlayer, cutting, graft?
 

GrimLore

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Hi - I've had a crabapple for a number of yrs (about 4 I think). It's happy and healthy, but has not flowered.

Age is relevant. I have a Dolgo Russian Crabapple starting it's 4th season with me in a large pot. It came as a 2 1/2 - 3 foot bare root whip. The base was about 3/4 of an inch and it was grown from cutting. Last year it finally showed a handful of flowers and this year bloomed hundreds. Prior to that for 2 years - nothing... I recently planted a Snowdrift Crabapple. A 2 foot bare root whip grown from cutting. It has almost a 1/2 inch base and I really don't expect blooms for at least 4 years as it is smaller. The Dolgo by the way is 8 feet tall now with a 3 inch base.

Grimmy
 

coh

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Yeah, seedlings can take a while to bloom. On the other hand, cuttings or layers will often bloom the first season, assuming they are taken from mature/flowering branches.

Other than that, I don't have any advice. I've got several crabs in the ground but none in pots at this time. I think flowers occur on spur growth? In which case you don't want to cut those off. Maybe someone with more experience with potted crabs can weigh in.

Chris
 

GrimLore

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I think flowers occur on spur growth? In which case you don't want to cut those off.

Good point, this Dolgo had only received a branch "tip" trim last Fall. It tossed a lot of small branches this Spring and the Flowers only seem to have occurred on the very ends of all -

IMG_0421.JPG

IMG_0427.JPG

Grimmy
 

AlainK

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Yeah, seedlings can take a while to bloom.

Not to mention the fact that if they are grown from seeds, the chance of having a hybridized/reverted tree can be high depending where the seeds were collected...

On top of that, "crab apple" is a very general term that can be used for many different species or varieties of small-fruit apple-trees. Do you know the scientific name?...

It's a bit like "Japanese maple": there are thousands of cultivars of Acer palmatum, Acer japonicum and Acer shirasawanum that are often tagged "Japanese maple", especially when you prefer to stay on the cheap side :p

So far, I have:

- Malus 'Evereste'
- Malus 'Van Eseltine'
- Malus micromalus
- Malus sylvestris
- ... and a few hybrids (some red-leaved) from seeds :cool: and a couple of fruiting apple-trees trained against a wall so I suppose cross-breeding is quite likely.
 
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Waltron

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I'm having a fungus problem with my crab apple.. just hit it with some copper.. hoping that works. anyone got any tips for fungus on crab apples?
 

GrimLore

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I'm having a fungus problem with my crab apple..

Can't comment without a picture or in depth description honest but Copper does work for many fungal issues not all.

Grimmy
 

coh

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Probably the best bet, without knowing what the fungus is, would be to hit it with the copper now and also acquire something else (daconil perhaps) so you can alternate in the future.
 

Waltron

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I'll post one later tonight.. the photo I have now from the other day is pretty ugly and I've pruned some suckers and dead leaves since, and I think the copper might be working.. should have took a new one when I was home for lunch.and its nice and warm today so it should be growing. this thing got ravaged by the dag gum rabbits real hard so the photo I have now doesn't do it justice. its a nice specimen really hope it doesn't die... would be a whole lot better had it not been for rabbits and this leaf fungus. The fungus makes the leaves curl up, and isnide its shiny, then the leaves turn black and dont grow. I collected another one a month or so ago that is throwing buds all over as well. prob start a new thread for them. whatever it is, my cherry has it too.

heres what kind this is, pretty sure its a "red", which is what i call the ones that have red apples. There is also another kind that I refer to as "yellow", it makes yellow apples. giant field of these things behind my house, its a great field.. roots on all the trees are shallow and compact cause its real wet back there. lots of hawthorne, cherry, and bradford pair as well.
 

Waltron

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the tree in the first photo was collected last year as a bare trunk, its kinda hard to tell but the thing has great movement( in my opinion), should have seen it last year before the rabbits got it though... had tons of great branches. I've since removed those 3 bottom branches that look the most healthy, im sure someone is going to say that was a mistake due to the overall vigor. but its now in the shape i kind of want it. im hoping it will get through this fungus. I already think the grow bag is probably helping harbor fungus, but I didn't want to repot this year since it was just collected.. and hell the rabbits did a trim job so I figured I might as well just trim it up and hope the top branches live. am i supposed to water the soil with the copper or just spray the top of the soil and the leaves? lets see, i sprayed it two days ago, then it rained, so I sprayed it again yesterday.. when should i spray again?
 

Stan Kengai

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Hi - I've had a crabapple for a number of yrs (about 4 I think). It's happy and healthy, but has not flowered.

Are there any particular pruning, or feeding tricks that I'm not doing right? I basically just feed once leaves are out, and repot every 2 to 3 yrs as needed, and try not to feed from late summer onward, nor prune from this point onward (or if I do feed, I withhold nitrogen).

Assuming that I'm missing something, that's preventing the flowering. Is there a special pruning technique, for example, that I should be following?

Thanks.

Can we see a couple of pictures of your crabapple, in order to give you an informed opinion/diagnosis? Otherwise, we're just stabbing in the dark. Some close-ups (from about 18-24" away) of the trunk and branches would be most helpful. Even still, it might be too leafy to tell.
 

0soyoung

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try not to feed from late summer onward
Why would you do that?
I would do just the opposite.

Nitrogen is essential for good budding. Throw on the nitrogen in spring --> long internodes.

I am wondering about what one should do for flowering across all species. Despite how complicated it is, there are a few common basics,
  1. flowers are apical meristems --> flowers are buds at the end of a branch/spur
  2. flowering is possible only after some aging --> puberty equivalence.
  3. flowers are a metamorphosed vegetative bud.
It gets quite complicated after this, but I think the key points are
  1. Good nitrogen nutrition is required for budding.
  2. Budding occurs late in the season.
My interest is piqued by you statement - I want to understand why (and/or where has my concept model gone wrong).
 

TomB

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Why would you do that?
I would do just the opposite.

I agree. The general advice I follow is from Peter Adams in his "Art of Flowering Bonsai". I start fertilising once fruit has set, then keep going late into the season. If you're not yet seeing fruit and flowers, I don't know whether there's any reason to wait (other than not stimulating leggy growth in spring).

I normally just use general purpose liquid fertiliser in combination with a solid organic one. Maybe some tomato feed lower in N later in the year. It seems to work.

I do avoid pruning later on in the season, as this will apparently stimulate vegetative growth rather than flower buds. Adams' advice on this is to prune in winter, and just nip out new shoots as they reach about an inch long during the growing season.

 
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sorce

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Cuss at it....
Threaten it...

Sorce
 

GrimLore

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Where are the pictures, I bet that was awesome.

John

There are two pictures in post #5 here. It has grown to 8 foot and resides in a 12 gallon pot now. Just starting its 4th season grown from a bare rooted cutting 2 1/2 - 3 foot. It got pretty chunky and tall a bit faster then expected so I am thinking maybe trim the top proper in fall to prepare it for a bushy air layer in Spring. Out of control due to house renovation :oops: Those two pictures are from the start of the bloom and we went away while it was even more full. I do figure I can tighten up the blooms a lot for next year with some proper cuts.

Grimmy
 

camikins

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Not to mention the fact that if they are grown from seeds, the chance of having a hybridized/reverted tree can be high depending where the seeds were collected...

On top of that, "crab apple" is a very general term that can be used for many different species or varieties of small-fruit apple-trees. Do you know the scientific name?...

It's a bit like "Japanese maple": there are thousands of cultivars of Acer palmatum, Acer japonicum and Acer shirasawanum that are often tagged "Japanese maple", especially when you prefer to stay on the cheap side :p

So far, I have:

- Malus 'Evereste'
- Malus 'Van Eseltine'
- Malus micromalus
- Malus sylvestris
- ... and a few hybrids (some red-leaved) from seeds :cool: and a couple of fruiting apple-trees trained against a wall so I suppose cross-breeding is quite likely.

Thanks - it's a sargent crabapple. From a nursery plant. Did a trunk chop about 4 yrs ago, and has grown well, but no blooms yet.
 

MichaelS

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Bringing branches to the horizontal or below will help with setting flower buds. People used to tie bricks to their apple tree branches to get more fruit.
Also letting a few sacrifice branches shoot away here and there will weaken the others and stimulate flower budding on them. You can then cut off the strong branches completely or to one bud.
Feed a balanced feed (NPK) in Autumn (especially) but throughout the growing season as well. Repot in Autumn just as the leaves have almost gone. Not Spring.
As these trees should be repotted annually, it is best to do them in the fall. That way they will make new roots before winter and be in good shape to sustain flowering and fruiting the following season without the root disturbance.
 

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