|Collecting & Training Crab-Apples - Page 2|
Page 2 of 3
Training Begins Year One
All the clay was washed off. An ideal front, based on root
placement and trunk movement, was selected. The trunk was reduced
some more so that, along with the new apex, the tree would be
manageable. There was nothing scientific about that. I just
it. Normally, in a trunk reduction, I cut straight across because
that would give me a greater selection of buds to use as a leader.
For some reason, I didn't do that this
Pot and all was allowed to soak in a solution of Superthrive and water until the soil was saturated. It was then placed into full sun to do its thing. And it did, vigorously.
Apples, as you may know, have a reputation of budding profusely from old wood and that's what mine did. Many of the buds were well placed and those that were not, were immediately rubbed off. (Luck was with me, too, regarding the apex. A bud actually burst exactly where it was needed!) Those that were kept were allowed to grow freely.
Another characteristic of trunk- reduced crab-apples seems to be that they will put out clusters of buds at one location. This wonderful feature is a real boon to developing an apple bonsai from scratch. Here is why. First, it allows you to refine your branch selection at these points because there are several potential branches from which to choose. Second, you can right away choose the right diameter branch in ascending order. Third, this feature allows for a number of sacrificial branches that should be kept until the "ideal" branch has hardened off. Having these sacrificial branches available is, in my view, critical because fresh apple branches, while in their flexible state,snap off at the trunk easily, especially when being wired. So, just in case you do snap off a branch, you'll again have a choice of several branches to replace the one lost. Once you are satisfied that the branch of choice is safe, the remaining branches should be removed.
Wiring apple branches while in their delicate state is important because the branches are still easy to bend and place, albeit with care. If you try wiring branches when they are past that snap-off stage, the wood is so rigid that you can barely bend it. Try too hard and you can easily break the branch; do just enough not to break it and you'll likely have to settle for something less than you wanted.
In the case of my apple, I wired the branches, I believe, in June 1992. They were wired carefully and very loosely with a size of wire that, for the most part, was heavy enough to facilitate a certain amount of bending. When manipulation was necessary, the branch was supported and it was done away from the trunk.The wire was left on well into the second year. The tree was not fertilized but it was heavily watered.