|Collecting & Training Crab-Apples - Page 3|
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I'm always amazed that in five years the tree went from a branchless trunk to an attractive flowering bonsai. The fully opened blooms are a beautiful pink (Fig. 7) and come in clusters of three or five.
The flowers have a pleasingly fresh apple scent. The apples are about a centimeter in diameter, have long stems and are dull red. (Fig. 8)
The roots aren't bad, either. (Fig. 9)
The bonsai is now 31 inches tall, so that will give you an idea of the size of PET's pot. It bloomed well that spring (Fig. 11)
but too early for the International Bonsai Congress (IBC '97) Convention the Toronto Bonsai Society hosted that year. From now on, the bonsai, in my opinion, only needs ongoing maintenance and care.
Now a word or two about the bonsai's other attributes. Spring leaf budding is also an attractive event because the buds come out as eye-catching red dots. These turn into rich green leaves that have a look to them that is best described as "wet". The mature summer leaves are a dull green on top with a burgundy underside. Autumn leaf colour has not been spectacular so far, although the potential for it seems to be there. (Fig. 12)
Fig. 13) Unfortunately, it does not bloom in abundance every year; it seems to take a rest for a year or two between bouts of heavy flowering.
This and That
Apples always seem to be thirsty. In my case, because the apple is planted in a fairly shallow container and grows in full sun, there is no question that on a sunny summer day a good soaking at least twice a day is needed. Go too long without watering and the fresh tips start to droop. As for pests, the only ones I have noticed are aphids. If they are a serious problem, they can be eliminated with an insecticide. Usually, though, aphids inhabit succulent shoots, and these can sometimes be removed by hand (squishing them) or just pruning out the shoot.
Although I think it is great and exciting to get flowers and fruit on a bonsai, I feel strongly that it is more important to first develop a fruiting or flowering tree into a credible bonsai. To do otherwise will only result in petty blooms and attractive fruit on a poor bonsai. Developing a crab apple from nothing but a stump into an attractive bonsai is a highly satisfying, rewarding experience. If the opportunity arises for you to try this, please don't pass it up.
Photo Credits: Reiner Goebel (1,10,11) - Detlef Schnepel