shri
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Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

I want to cut off a trunk as mentioned at https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/trunks.htm. Can I do this with a 5' tall cherry tree or crabapple tree (like the ones shown in the image below)? The trunk diameters are about 1-2". I have not found any information about how to start a bonsai from such large bare root trees.

When I asked the lady at the nursery if I could chop off the trunk, she wondered if it would result in too many water sprouts. Would now be a good time to cut the trunk?

Image

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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

That clump of branches most likely has a single stump at its core. I kind of has to be either, or. Either crab apple, or cherry.

If that stemmy stump was mine and I intended to work it into shape as bonsai. I would cut the soil in a circle to create a smaller root mass, this year. I would stop for this year with cutting out all the strongest of those verticle branches. I'd leave the tree in ground to rest up till next years work-up.
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applestar
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

I think timing will also depend on
• where you are -- seasonal weather : crabapple would sustain a large diameter chop better when dormant (late winter or early spring just before bud break), and cherry would be better cut after leafing out
• grafted tree?
• did you mention how high from soil level you want to cut? (Potential side buds may have been rubbed out already?)

If trees like this are cut just before/at spring growth, then there's going to be all kinds of growth, so I would think the next step would be summer pruning to eliminate obviously unwanted branches, reduce the vigor and bring the tree down to size.

I'm not sure when is the best timing to root prune -- would you cut down the top first or cut the roots first? I have been chopping down the top first before root pruning for collecting and potting up next season and that has worked as far as obtaining live specimens go. Some of you already know about my quandary with the actual pruning after that. :wink:
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

This tree is something I would not even attempt to bonsai. But usually when trees are dug up from the wild to bonsai, both the roots and top are trimmed. The are kept in bigger pots to recover, but over time they will continue to be reduced to fit in a shallow container.
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applestar
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

I have a volunteer crabapple in one of my veg beds that I have been pruning/training in "stepover" style just for fun for about 4 yrs -- but I've decided to dig it out of there as soon as the ground thaws. I intend to pot it up and add it to my "bonsai wannabe collection". If it's the same wild crab as the one already growing here, then it will have small cherry sized fruits.
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Gnome
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

I'm confused, some of the advice given seems to assume that the tree in question is in the ground. From the picture I currently see the OP is considering a nursery tree, either in a pot or balled and burlaped. Am I missing something?

Norm

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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

Gnome wrote:I'm confused, some of the advice given seems to assume that the tree in question is in the ground. From the picture I currently see the OP is considering a nursery tree, either in a pot or balled and burlaped. Am I missing something?

Norm
Its unclear from the original post Norm. if this is a balled tree tree awaiting its next plant out, or, a coppiced tree making root-stock.

The original poster is going to have to weight with some of his dreams for this tree.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

We do need shri to come back. My reading of what we have so far is that OP is buying a 5' tall tree from a nursery (balled and burlapped or in a nursery pot) and wants to cut it down for bonsai, similar to yamadori bonsai from wild trees. So OP would be doing a "trunk chop," as is frequently discussed here. The question is when is the right time to do that and what is the process re cutting roots back at the same time? later?

I agree my take on it would be after the trunk chop and root pruning, it would still go in a nursery pot while awaiting back budding and further refinement. Only gradually would it get reduced down to where it could go in a bonsai pot.

What considerations should OP be thinking about in doing the trunk chop?
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Gnome
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Re: Cutting 2" trunk of 5' bare root trees

RBG,
What considerations should OP be thinking about in doing the trunk chop?
Foremost would be the current condition of the tree. If potted the root-ball would be well established and a hard chop should be fine. But if recently dug (balled and burlapped) then another period of recovery would be in order.
The question is when is the right time to do that and what is the process re cutting roots back at the same time? later?
Following the doctrine of "one insult per season" it would be safer to spread the work out.

One caveat, although I have worked with Crab Apples I have never worked with Cherry.

Norm



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