Crab Apple Bonsai Tree Care
Site in full sun, perhaps with a little shade in midsummer. Fully grown Crab Apples are very hardy in the wild. Crab Apple bonsai trees will benefit from having their roots protected from prolonged periods of freezing weather.
Cannot survive indoors.
Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, like a damp cloth feels. Water daily in summer.
Tree will burst into leaf in spring, the flowers also coming early. Flowers into mid spring. The flowers start to fade in late spring. Where each flower was, an apple is likely to form. This can mean that the tree will be full of apples. The apples will start off small in late spring and will grow throughout the summer. The tree will put much of its energy into growing apples, which can overly tax it. It is therefore recommended to thin out the number of apples over the course of the year by cutting them off at the stalk, so that by the end of the year just a few apples are left, which should then be removed entirely by autumn.
The tree will grow new shoots throughout the growing season. When they have grown a little, cut these back to the first couple of new leaves.
Crab apples are a good candidate for partial defoliation. This basically involves the removal of a proportion of the leaves throughout the growing season on an on-going basis. Cut of leaves which are larger than average. Leave the stalk. A new leaf will grow which is likely to be smaller than the previous one. By doing this, you will also be allowing light into the middle of the tree, which encourages buds to grow there.
Can be shaped by wiring if you wish.
Feed weekly / fortnightly from spring to autumn, using a mild fertiliser at around NPK 555. We tend to use a slow release fertiliser called Naruko, which we apply three times per year, in April, June and August.
Repot younger bonsai trees every one or two years using a general bonsai soil mix. Mature bonsai can be repotted less often than this.
Pests & Diseases
The most common issues are powdery mildew and leaf spots of various kinds. All Apple trees are prone to this. Easily controlled by the use of fungicide sprays available from garden centres. It may be a good precaution to purchase some of this and spray the tree periodically. We use Fungus Fight from Bayer which can be purchased as a premixed spray or as a concentrate which you mix with water and use in a hand sprayer.