A Crabapple Bonsai is a living miniature tree and not a house plant; therefore, your bonsai must be maintained in a cool/cold environment during the winter season. As a guide, around Thanksgiving Day it is time to prepare your Bonsai for its winter dormancy period which should last approximately three (3) months. This can be accomplished in several ways.
One method is to bury your tree in the ground (preferably without the pot) up to the rim of the container and then mulch up to the first branch. It is best to choose a location that is protected from wind and sun, but not rain or snow.
A second method which is also common is to place your tree(s) in an unheated garage or shed. During this time, your tree does not require light because it is in a dormant state; however, it will require watering approximately every two weeks. Throughout the spring, summer and fall your Bonsai should be placed outside, such as on a patio, balcony, terrace, or in a garden. Once outside, your Bonsai should be positioned where it will receive sufficient sun – morning sun and afternoon shade is best.
A Bonsai can be viewed best when it is placed approximately three to four feet high (eye level), such as on a table, wall or bench. A Bonsai can and should be brought into the house on special occasions and displayed in a prominent place. Your Bonsai should not remain inside for more than a few days at a time, as the atmosphere is detrimental to the health of your tree.
The watering of your Bonsai must never be neglected. Apply water when the soil appears dry -- never allow the soil to become completely dry. If your Bonsai is receiving full sun, it may be necessary to water once a day. This schedule may vary with the size pot, type of soil and type of Bonsai tree you own. Evaluate each tree's water requirements and adjust your watering schedule to accommodate it. It is a good idea to use a moisture meter until you get to know the requirements of your Bonsai tree. Watering should be done with a watering can or hose attachment which should dispense the water in a soft enough manner as not to disturb the soil. Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. A good rain is usually a sufficient watering.
During the cold months, when your bonsai is inside, we recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This provides extra moisture around the tree as the water evaporates and reduces the amount of moisture lost to modern heating systems.
Fertilizing is also necessary if your bonsai is to remain healthy and beautiful. Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil's supply of nutrients periodically. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is available at most garden centers. We suggest that fertilizers be used at half their recommended strength. Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month except during winter. Your bonsai will also respond well to foliar feeding, with a water-soluble fertilizer applied every other month as a spray.
This brief explanation of basic care does not cover training. Training deals with the art of bonsai and should be thoroughly understood before undertaking -- or left to a professional. However, most of the true bonsai trees you find hav...