Sunday, March 02, 2008

Getting Ready for the Crab Apple Bonsai

How to train Crab Apples

Crab apples or Malus Apples are members of the Rosaceae family. There is only around twenty-five species, yet the group develops an amazing bonsai. The tree is grown in Asia, North America, Europe, etc. The Crabs has a historic moment that sends them back to the era when Neolithic or New Stone Ages emerged, which brought forth the Ornamental Crab Apple Malus.

Get your pen out, since you may want to note the Malus Baccata Mandshurica Cerasifera or better known as the Manchurian Crab Apple. This lovely creature develops in native regions and Japan, growing some of the most majestic leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, roots, etc, that the world of bonsai growers has ever seen. Man has the plan, since the plant grows up to 20-feet tall and blooms egg-shaped leaves, which are tinted green. The white flowers contrast the green, which these flowers bloom in April and/or May. Fruits start to appear in the shades red, yellow, etc, and are shaped-like cherries. Cultivars may have different shades and tints. The small bitter apples provide a tasty delight, i.e. if you like the similar tastes of green apples.

Relative to the Man is the Malus halliana or better known as the Hall Apple. Hall’s grow shrubs in Japan, China, and native regions. The tree when grown in the wild reaches up to 16 ½ -feet tall. The trees produce spreading that include egg-shaped leaves. The green leaves have attractive tones, e.g. hues, purple, pink, which bloom as flowers. The flowers start to bloom in May, which promotes the growth of ripe, edible fruits.

Malus sieboldii or the Toringo crab is another relative of the Malus breeds. Tree or shrubs grow in native regions, Japan, China, etc, grows up to 33-feet tall. The deep pink flowering buds contrast pale pink tones. The tiny edible fruits are yellow or red.

Himekokoh is the Malus native breed that is grown in Japan. The tree gives birth to delightful edible fruits. A tasty dish is complimented by the minute size small orange citrus fruits, or Clementine.

To train these breeds as bonsai you will need to feed the plants by hand. Once you decide which family member you want to grow, you can start propagation by sowing seeds. Cuttings is not an option. In the spring, you can layer.

How to seed:
Once the fruits has ripen pick them and et them rest in a cool environment until they rot. Clean the seeds of the fruits, or pips and dry, stratify and move them to sand. In November or December, you can sow your seeds, using light earth. Germination is not something we can discuss at this point, since each species start growing at different stages, depending on the breed. I can tell you however, that if you chose the Ornamentals the seedling produces will be that of the diverse, or heterogeneous if you will.

How to care for your plants:
All year you should place your plant in south sunlight. This particular group of bonsai will tolerate exceptionally hot conditions, as well as frost.

How to pot:
Potting starts with rather deep containers. Since the plants grow decorative flowers, you can choose a balance pot.

How to clean:
You may need to remove some of the fruits, especially the Himekokoh group, since the heavy fruit will weigh down your plant. To avoid insect attacks, remove any un-fallen leaves in the fall.

How to re-pot:
When the crabs are grown in pots, they grow fast. In the spring each year, you will need to re-pot your plants in a larger pot. Cut one-third of the roots before re-potting. Wait two years if the plant is aged. You will need to learn how to prune, water, wire, spray, and feed to continue training your bonsai.