Crabapple pruning

Hi all I have this crabapple which I would like to make smaller? I’m unsure how much I can prune and when is best to do it? I’ve attached a photo of the size I would like to work it into aswell

Thanks in advance for any advice :blush:

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What a lovely little pot! The 2nd one.
Where are you located?

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I live in the UK.

Yes it’s very nice little tree. Mine isn’t quite there yet. But i would love to be able to develop it in some like this with shorter branches. But i don’t know how far back i can cut?

An option could be airlayer it here. (Recommendation from the guy who made the tree on second picture). But the trunk is nice and thick on the low part so almost feel sad to see that just go. Also still unsure how much far back I can prune the branches?

Please accept my comments with the proviso that I am very much a novice and just learning as well.

I have a note that crabapple flower on old wood. Pruning should be done after flowering in the summer.
I also appreciate the thickness of the lower trunk. It is not clear if there is a trunk bulge at the shadow line on the left side. Perhaps raise the soil level? If you do want to shorten the whole tree by air layering that should probably done before removing foliage and cutting back branches.

I would think you could prune each branch back to the first leaves near the trunk after flowering. You may get back budding giving you greater selection as you move forward.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes i’m a little in doubt. Airlayer - I would lose some nice thickness but i would be able to get it smaller.

If i just cut the branches i’m guessing i’m letting it thicken with time until the thickness suit the height. Maybe i just repot in colander and let everything grow.

Also i think it’s a graft from the wound on the side and because of the change in bark from high to low?

The base of the trunk is nice so I’d aim to prune branches rather than layering. As long as you cut to healthy buds you can expect new growth.

The other thing to say about severe cutback on any tree is that the healthier the roots, the better the response will be in terms of stimulating new buds.

If you cut below visible buds, you may or may not get new shoots where you want them.

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do not airlayer and loose the trunk base cut back hard you have 1 small branch on the right you could cut everything off above that . If the tree is strong and healthy you should expect lots of new bud to grow next spring then you choose what to keep

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Thanks Clive. I’m guessing white cut is to agreesive. Is blue or green cut better?

Ps I’m I right in saying this is a graft?

blue or green is ok. I suggested blue as it forced new bnuds to grow lower
I think White should work if the tree is very strong but not sure it should definitely grow from the 1 remaining branch below cut blue, and I would think bud iut lower than the exicting buds so you should get a choicee of trunk / branch growth direction

I don’t know how to identify buds on this And it’s a new tree i got just this spring so might be safest to do green and see how it reacts as I’ll still As I don’t really know how strong it is. It seemed to have pretty good vigour in the short time I’ve had it but maybe best to be on the safe side and then further down the line make the riskier cuts? In terms of it being a graft. Would that have an effect on where I can cut?

Even the green lines are aggressive. If the tree is really healthy you’ll likely get new branches, but you don’t know where, or whether, the tree will produce buds. The safest cuts are where there are currently leaves. If you don’t mind taking a chance losing the tree, you could try cutting further back closer to the green lines.

Cutting back to the blue or white lines would require you to re-grow the main branches which would result in a tree that looks close to what you have now!

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Thanks for replying Jonas :blush: so where would you cut? If you were in my shoes?

Just past the green lines. I’d make the cuts in May or June.


Thanks you Jonas I will start there on see how the tree responds and how it’s buds and go from there. Maybe year after I will have cuts to go with clives suggestion :blush:

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