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How to care for Crabapple as bonsai

Larry Morton

Posted on February 08 2019

Crabapples (Malus) are proven to be fast growing, tough and durable growing in sun to light shade. They respond to water but are tolerant of dryer times. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer and heavy pruning that contributes to fireblight on foliage. Spray for fireblight when in bloom. Add lime. Delete suckers. Takes pruning well although a decent buttress taper is rather difficult to achieve. Use plastic coated wiring, directional pruning and bud selection. Defoliation is terrible horticulture due to the excessive unnecessary stresses to any healthy plant. Excessive infrequent pruning also will devitalize your bonsai.

  • Ideal, superior deciduous tree for bonsai fodder. Makes a sculptured bonsai.
  • The natural growth habit of older trees is stout horizontal to low broadly ascending branches usually form a more spherical habit with a low trunk. Flat foliage pads or "clouds" are never seen in nature on a deciduous tree.
  • Striking as specimen or in groups.
  • Native.
  • Southern Crabapple - Malus angustifolia -  Narrow shiny leaves start out reddish and changing to apple green. Can remain semievergreen in mild winters. Fall shades of red, orange and gold. Deep pink buds developing color in April fading to delicate pink and then to fragrant white flowers. Small greenish yellow fruit changing to red Sept. Reddish brown scaly ridged bark.
  • Japanese Crabapple - Malus floribunda 'Harvest Gold' is a recommended yellow fruited variety.
  • Tea Crabapple - Malus hupensis Picturesque horizontal to ascending branches form a vase shape.  Deep pink buds developing color April fade to early fragrant white flowers. Greenish yellow to red fruit Sept.
  • Many  other excellent varieties of various flower and fruit colors and disease resistance.

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