ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Slipshod Gardener 8: The Case of the Flopping Crab

Updated on June 19, 2013

A pink crabapple tree

I love the size and irregular shapes of crabapple trees
I love the size and irregular shapes of crabapple trees | Source

White crabapple blossoms

Source

Crabapple fruit

Great for fall and winter interest.
Great for fall and winter interest. | Source

Crabapple trees have a special place in my heart

I have a sentimental attachment to crabapple trees. We had one in our front yard growing up and there was another I especially enjoyed in the yard of a house where I rented in Montana. So I definitely wanted a crabapple tree in my yard.

I bought one, planted it, and got great satisfaction from watching it grow upward at a steady rate. It had plenty of blooms its first spring and required some pruning. The only problem was that it would flop over in a strong wind and this became more frequent the blowsier it became since there was more to catch the wind. I eventually braced it.

It didn’t last long. In the fall of its third year with me, it flopped over despite the brace. I left it flopped. Clearly it should have been able to stand on its own by that time. With a heavy heart, I took my pick-ax out to put an end to my crab.

What I discovered when I started to uproot the crab was extremely peculiar. Where the trunk met the ground, it did not form roots. Instead it turned a sharp right and formed an almost complete circle before going downward, not unlike the outer ring of the @ symbol. This circle was all beneath the surface and all barked, part of the trunk, not part of the root system. No wonder it was falling over. It was sitting on a ring rather than being properly rooted. Something had obviously gone very wrong when it was first put in the pot. Unfortunately, that deformity only sealed its fate.

The crabapple's legacy

Toward spring, I was delighted to see what appeared to be a couple of seedlings sprouting around the hole where the crab had been. I was careful to protect them and let them grow. My mother suggested letting them get about three feet before transplanting.

Finally the day came to spread the new crabs around my property. I got another surprise. Plentiful though its fruit had been, these were not seedlings. They were “suckers” growing up from the roots. I didn’t know what to think of this development and a quick look on the internet didn’t help. Would a normal tree grow from a sucker? I decided to find out. I didn’t want to kill them and they needed to be separated.

There were five at that time. I decided to move four and leave one in place. I created a grove of three where the pond had once been. They each had only a few inches of root on each side when transplanted (with trusty rooting hormone). None of them flopped. One did not survive. The other two have shot straight up. They are now about eight feet tall. They give the impression of willowy pillars.

The last I planted in the back dog yard in a shamefully slipshod manner. I almost cast it over the bank rather than pretend something could survive being planted so shallowly, barely into the ground because I couldn’t get a shovel into the gravel that composes the surface of the dog yard. It’s large sharp gravel, not the small, rounded gravel that would have been ideal. What I managed to do for this crab sucker was peck a little into the soil, hardly enough for a seedling to take, and weight it in place by covering it back over with gravel. A heat spell withered the terminal bud, but it survived, branched, and continued to grow. Nine months later, it’s not as tall as its front yard siblings but it has a more attractive form.

And where the original crab once stood, there are now five slender, willowy suckers growing up. Three are branching from one place. The other two have sprouted from other left over portions of root. I’ve decided to leave them be and see what happens.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)