Garden Centre Plants

justcloxJanuary 26, 2013

According to the books I have read one is supposed to leave the tree in the ground for a few years to thicken up the trunk. OK sounds reasonable, except...
I recently bought a crab apple tree from the Garden Centre, it had obviousely been in its nice large pot for a few years. It is now taller than I am. I am obviousely missing something which is not being explained. How do I leave it in the ground for a few years and not have it end up as a big tree which I would then have to cut down to size, leaving a horrible flat top?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The answer you're looking for is "trunk chops".

Maybe this little mulberry (that needs root work) I'm working on will help explain. This was a volunteer that showed up in the raised beds I use for growing on bonsai material. I let it grow until it was a little over 2 meters tall, then cut it back hard. This is only one of the options I had for building a tree on the trunk that was left.

I could have allowed ONE new branch to emerge from high on the trunk below the chop, and trained it up as the new leader. This would have thickened, and thickened the lower trunk as well. I could then have performed another chop - as many as I wanted to do, to build taper into the tree and make it look old.

This maple will (already is) be chopped just above the small branch with wire on it, and allowed to grow.

I don't really care yet about the branch structure. I'm interested primarily in building a good root system

and a tapered trunk. Once I've developed roots and taper, I can start working toward a tree that will look believable when it's presented.

Al

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 4:49PM
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justclox

Thanks for your well documented explanation. On your mulberry, will you be able to get rid of the flat top, or does that matter?

Alistair

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:42AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

By 'flat top', do you mean the scar left from the chop? That will eventually heal over - or I can carve a hollow into the trunk to make it look more natural. The plant actually looks much better than it does in the picture. The congestion on the left is because you're actually looking at 2 branches, one superimposed over the other. And, this is just the first year of developing the plant after the chop, so it's come a long way in a year.

Al

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:27PM
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justclox

Hello,
Yes it was the large flat top to the tree that I was looking at. This conversation has been VERY useful. Thank you.

Alistair

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:10AM
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