One of the first trees we planted when we moved into our present house was a specimen of Malus trilobata ‘Guardsman’. As I recall, it was on offer at half-price and now I’m wondering if I know why. By now it should be between 8′ – 12′ tall but, if anything, it has shrunk a couple of inches and still stands about 6′ high.
I think it had already become pot-bound when we bought it and this afternoon we dug it up and looked at the rootball, which had hardly grown. It might also had too much competition – just across the path is a Malus sylvestris ‘John Downie’, which has grown as expected, and a few feet away is a Prunus domestica ‘Herman’ which we know sends roots out to quite a distance.
That said, the Malus trilobata is a gorgeous plant and is still alive. We’ve now transplanted it into a large pot, which allowed us to relocate it for aesthetic effect. If it survives, it should give us a few more years of glorious autumnal colour and, if not, at least we’ll have a large pot for whatever the next thing is!