12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

Malus is a genus of about 30–55 species of small deciduous trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae, including the domesticated orchard apple – also known as the eating apple, cooking apple, or culinary apple. The other species are commonly known as crabapples, crab apples, crabtrees, wild apples, or rainberries.

  • Scientific name: Malus
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Blooming season: spring gardenia.net
  • Kingdom: Plantae
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How To Grow A Crabapple Tree In Just 9 Steps

A crabapple tree is a flowering tree that adds beautiful color to any landscape. The tree also produces edible fruit in the fall and often offers attractive fall foliage, giving it a multi-season appeal.

You can learn how to grow an apple tree step by step from seed or buy a young tree from a nursery to plant. However, the most important step in developing a healthy tree is ensuring it gets full sun and is watered thoroughly.

Table of Contents 

  • 1 Step by step how to grow a crabapple tree
  • 2 Choosing the place where you are going to grow
  • 3 Varieties
    • 3.1 Vertical shape
    • 3.2 Horizontal shape
    • 3.3 Rounded shape
    • 3.4 Dwarf form
    • 3.5 Way of crying
    • 3.6 Apple-Crabapple Hybrids
    • 3.7 Hybrid Crabapples for cooking
    • 3.8 Showy fruitful crabapples
  • 4 Type of land
  • 5 Space required
  • 6 Light and climate
  • 7 Irrigation
  • 8 Compost and Fertilizers
  • Nine seeds
    • 9.1 Before germination
    • 9.2 Germination
    • 9.3 After germination
  • 10 Cleaning
  • 11 Pests and Diseases
    • 11.1 Aphids
    • 11.2 Japanese beetles
    • 11.3 Mites
    • 11.4 Caterpillars
    • 11.5 Disease problems
  • 12 Do crabapple keep mice away?

1. Step by step how to grow a crabapple tree

Unlike its close relatives, the garden apple, the crabapple (Malus spp.) It is grown primarily for its ornamental spring flowers and fall foliage, And they can propagate from softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer.

Apple cuttings take root fairly quickly in most conditions and will be ready for transplanting in early fall. Start your apple tree cuttings once the flowers are completely gone, and the leaves are fully formed.

Step 1: Fill a 6-inch plastic container with a mixture of equal peat and coarse sand. Soak the peat in water before mixing it with the sand.

Step 2: Assemble a 5- to 7-inch long tip cut with several sets of young leaves at the end and a flexible stem. Cut the stem 1/4 inch below a bunch of leaves with bypass scissors.

Step 3: Peel the ripe leaves along with the bottom third of the crabapple cutting. Cover this lower area of ​​the stem with an a0.8 percent IBA ( Indolebutyric acid )rooting hormone.

Step 4: Glue the hormone-coated end of the crabapple cut into the prepared container. Press until the lowest set of leaves rests on the surface of the growing mixture. Firm the mix around the base of the cut.

Step 5: Place the potted crabapple cutting outdoors in a protected area with filtered light. Protect it from the wind and direct sun to prevent the leaves from drying out.

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

Step 6: Spray water on the growing mixture just around the base of the cutting. Keep the humidity constant in the peat mixture, but allow it to dry almost just below the surface.

Step 7: Provide an intermittent mist with an automated system or spray the cutting two to three times a day with a spray bottle. Make sure to mist the underside of the leaves if you are using a spray bottle.

Step 8: Pull out the crabapple cutting in four to six weeks to see roots. Feel if the cutting sticks to the growing medium instead of moving Freely when you pull it.

Step 9: Leave the rooted crabapple cutting in partial shade for the rest of the summer. Transport it to a sunny bed with well-drained soil in early fall, around mid-October.

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

2. Choosing the place where you are going to grow

Choose an area that gets full sun. The crabapple is a tropical plant so enjoy the sun! You should plant it in a sunny place well protected from the wind.

The location must be sunny at least eighty percent of the time.

Make sure it gets at least six hours of sunlight a day, although eight hours or more will work best.

A crabapple tree is a flowering tree that adds beautiful color to any landscape.

3. Varieties

Many crabapple varieties are hardy, drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, adapt to various types of soil, and grow to a mature height of fewer than 20 feet, suitable for small spaces.

Because apple trees vary in their growth habits, they develop different shapes or forms, which provides a basis for their categorization.

Vertical shape

Upright apple trees are taller than they are wide, such as “Adirondack” (Malus “Adirondack”) and “Red Jewel” (Malus “Red Jewel”). Both varieties grow well. “Adirondacks” has an upright shape and dense canopy, reaching a mature height of 18 feet and a width of 10 feet.

Among the crabapple varieties, “Adirondack” produces one of the heaviest flower displays, covering itself with fragrant white blossoms in spring.

Adirondack is also highly resistant to disease. The “Red Jewel” features white flowers and an oval or pyramid shape, 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

It is also resistant to disease, but it is less resistant to fire than the “Adirondack.”

Horizontal shape

Apple trees that grow wider than tall are said to have a “horizontal” or “sprawling” shape. “Strawberry Parfait” (Malus “Strawberry Parfait”) can reach a mature height of 18 feet and a width of 20 feet.

It blooms with large pink flowers and reddish leaves that emerge in the spring that later turn green. Strawberry ice cream is highly resistant to disease.

Round shape

Apple trees with a rounded shape are usually as tall as wide. “Coralburst” (Malus “Coralburst”), “Indian Summer” (Malus “Indian Summer”), and “Royalty” (Malus “Royalty”) have rounded shapes. “Coralburst” shows double pink. It blooms in spring and grows in a compact, dense, rounded shape, reaching 12 to 15 feet tall and wide at maturity.

“Indian Summer” offers pinkish-red flowers and matures to 18 feet by 18 feet, while “Royalty” displays purple flowers and reaches 15 feet by 15 feet at maturity. Although these apple trees generally have good disease resistance, they are susceptible to apple scab, with “royalty” most vulnerable.

Dwarf shape

Appletree varieties that come in dwarf forms are also suitable as patio trees growing in containers. Sargent (Malus sargentii), “Jewelberry” (Malus “Jewelberry”), and Sargent “Tina” (Malus sargentii “Tina. Sargent and” Jewelberry” are horizontal or dwarf sprawling apple trees, which grow up to 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Sargent “Tina” grows to a compact rounded shape 5 feet tall and wide.

All three varieties of crabapple display showy white flowers in spring. Sargent and Sargent “Tina” has excellent disease resistance, while “Jewelberry” is slightly more susceptible to apple scab and fire blight.

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022
12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

Crying way

Molten Lava (Malus “Molazam”) is a strong apple tree. It reaches approximately 12 feet tall, and its weeping branches are covered with white early spring flowers, followed by abundant red fruit. Molten lava is highly resistant to disease.

Sweet crabapple:

Native crabapple trees (M. Coronaria ) grow in the mountains of North Carolina at elevations of 3,500 feet.

Orange-red fall foliage on ornamental trees 20 to 30 feet tall rounds off a year that begins with flamboyant spring floral displays in mid-May.

The pink buds reveal profusions of delicate white flowers, followed by non-conspicuous yellow-green fruits.

The canopy of “Charlotte” extends widely over a 35-foot-tall tree. Large apples eventually follow especially abundant pastel pink double flowers. Try making delicious ciders or preserves with sweet crabapple fruits.

Apple-Crabapple Hybrids

Apple and crabapple crosses result in sweeter fruits and harder trees than crabapple hybrids.

Wild “rescue” apples mature early with medium-sized red and yellow skin and sweet yellow flesh; the trees thrive in colder areas, including Alaska.

Remember that “Oriole,” with large, early, golden and red fruit, is susceptible to mold.

The first green and red “Norland” fruits, medium in size and fine, Starting with its mid-season harvest, “Breakey” produces medium-sized yellow and green fruits, with a soft red, with a mild and tangy flavor for fresh eating or cooking. Try the delicious “Mailman” fruits fresh, stewed, or canned.

Hybrid crabapples for cooking

North American gardeners traditionally enjoyed preserves, ciders, cakes, and stews made from their apples.

They mature large, 2-inch, “transcendent,” with their flushed and flushed yellow skin during the summer. The “centenary” produces especially sweet fruit.

Harvest Dolgo’s “1-1 / 2” Berries for preserves. Delicious jellies come from Hopa’s large, reddish-orange apples.

The decorative “Silver Red” tree, with dark reddish-purple fruits and silvery-purple foliage, has crab apples for preserves or cakes. “Donald Wyman” produces edible, bright red apples on showy, spreading trees that reach 20 feet tall and are at least that wide. Add a flavorful tang to roast poultry by slicing a few apples into the skillet.

Showy fruitful crabapples

Along with the quirky flower displays, many apple trees are ornamental with showy late-summer apples.

Jewelry bears displayed small bright red fruits on 8-foot tall trees at a young age.

The long-lasting maroon fruits follow the crimson flowers in “List” and hang among their purplish-green foliage on 20-foot-tall trees.

Showy, bright red “Narragansett” apple trees adorn 15-foot tall, round-canopied, disease-resistant trees.

Madonna’s tiny fruits blush red and dot the new tan foliage of disease-resistant upright trees. “Louisa,” with strong disease resistance and graceful weeping branches, is an excellent garden tree, with its tiny golden apples marking the bright green foliage.

The showy yellow fruit of “Harvest Gold” persists until the following spring. The columnar dwarf “Maypole” reaches only 8 feet tall; its fragrant blooms precede showy fruit and colorful fall leaves.

the tree also produces edible fruit and often offers attractive fall foliage, giving it multi-season appeal

4. Land type

Crabapples can grow primarily in loamy, loamy, or sandy soil as long as the soil is moist and well-draining.

Adding organic matter to sandy or clay soils improves drainage. Most crabapples prefer slightly acidic to highly alkaline soils with a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, but some, such as crabapple Sargent (M. Sargent), do better in acidic soils.

5. Space required

Dig a hole and transplant the seedling. Since Crabapples have shallow root systems, you need to make the planting hole twice as wide as the seedling’s root ball.

The depth of the hole should match the size of the root ball. Place the root ball in the planting hole, cover, and water the seedling.

If you are planting more than one, space them five meters from each other.

You can also plant the Crabapples in a large pot.

6. Light and weather

Transplant your crabapple seedlings in the spring:

You can transplant your crabapple tree in the spring or when the temperature reaches between 73 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit (23-24 degrees Celsius).

You should find a place with some protection from the wind, lots of sun, and is not prone to water accumulation.

Plant crabapple outdoors in warm weather

You should plant your crabapple tree in a tropical or near-tropical climate. Since crabapple can tolerate a certain level of drought, you can grow it in drier weather.

Colder temperatures are not tolerated, so avoid planting them outdoors in places with cold temperatures in the winter or at night.

The lowest temperature range it will tolerate is 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4-10 degrees Celsius).

If the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), the plant will die.

Rotate the planting tray to ensure adequate light

Every few days, you should rotate the planting tray so that all plants can enjoy the benefits of the south-facing window. If you are growing under a light, you should set the timer for fifteen hours per day and remember to let the seedlings rest in the dark for the rest of the day.

You will need to raise them if you are using grow lights as the seedlings grow.

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022
12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

7. Irrigation

Water your crabapple seedlings. Spray the planting tray with a gentleman to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Since crabapple cannot tolerate waterlogging, it is best to let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. You can stick your finger an inch into the ground to check the moisture level. If it feels dry to a depth of one inch, you can spray the seedlings.

You can use a fan to ensure air movement over the seedlings, which will help prevent disease.

Symptoms of water accumulation or “flood stress” include yellow leaves, stunted growth, wilting and browning, as well as drooping leaves.

8. Compost and Fertilizers

Crabapple grows 5 to 6 inches per year with enough nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. If your apple tree is slow-growing, you can apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer to the tree’s root system to enhance its growth.

Perform a soil test around your apple tree to determine what nutrients your tree needs. If your soil is already rich in nitrogen, don’t add more to the ground.

Over-fertilizing with nitrogen results in unhealthy growth that can make your tree more susceptible to pests or diseases.


Two types of basic fertilizers are used for apple trees. Organic fertilizers are a natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that release nutrients to the soil over time.

These fertilizers are best used to promote healthy growth in soils with sufficient nutrients or correct minor nutrient deficiencies.

Inorganic fertilizers use synthetic chemicals in liquid or solid form to provide nutrients immediately available to your apple tree.

This type of fertilizer is best used to fertilize soils with low nitrogen concentrations.

Surface application

Surface applications fertilize the soil above your apple tree’s root system.

Spread your fertilizer evenly over the tree’s roots by hand or with a spreader. This method requires the least preparation but is only suitable for nitrogen-only fertilizers.


Inorganic liquid fertilizers are injected directly into the soil to provide an immediate source of nutrients for your apple tree.

Start your injections 2-3 feet from the trunk of your apple tree and give one injection every 2 feet in a circle around the box.

Inject your fertilizer 6 to 9 inches deep. Make additional rings 2 to 3 feet apart, extending from the trunk with the end ring of injections more than 6 feet from the drip line.


Fertilizer is best applied in the spring before the growing season begins or fall before the average soil temperature is below freezing.

Fertilize your crab apple tree with 3 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year in clay soils. If your apple tree grows in sandy soil, divide the annual fertilizer rate for your tree in a spring and fall application.

Fertilizer rates

Soils deficient in phosphorus or potassium can use a fertilizer that combines nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Use a fertilizer with a ratio of 4 parts nitrogen to 1 part phosphorus and three parts potassium if your soil lacks all three nutrients.


Most crabapple trees have shallow root systems that draw nutrients from a large area around the tree. Avoid using tree spikes to fertilize your apple tree, as most fertilizer concentrates away from most of the root system.

9. Seeds

Collecting the seeds

Although apple trees are commonly propagated by grafting and budding, they may be propagated from seed, but they will not grow true to the main tree.

To obtain seeds:

  1. Collect ripe fruit from an apple tree.
  2. Cut the fruit with a knife and remove the seeds.
  3. Rinse the seeds with water to remove the sugar and pulp from the fruit, and allow them to dry on a paper towel for at least 24 hours.
12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022

Before germination

To break dormancy, apple tree seeds require cold stratification. This process exposes the roots to cold temperatures and mimics nature’s winter conditions.

Resealable label, plastic sandwich bag with the date and seed information Fill a third of the pack with wet peat and add the seeds. Seal the bag and shake it lightly to mix the seeds with the medium.

Place the bag in the refrigerator at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 120 days. Check the bag several times a week and spray the pedestrian with water if necessary to keep it constantly moist.


A 6-inch diameter with drainage holes is sufficient to grow crabapple seeds.

Fill the pot to 3/4 inches from the top with a wet seed starter mixture and set it tight in the container.

After spreading the seeds evenly over the soil’s surface, cover them with a 1/2-inch layer of seed-starter mix.

Press lightly on the soil and moisten it with a spray bottle filled with water. To promote soil moisture retention, stretch the plastic wrap over the pot and periodically mist the soil with water as needed.

After germination

After germination is established, remove the plastic wrap and place the pot near a sunny window so the seedlings can grow.

When large enough to handle, transplant into individual containers or after the last freezing date in your area.

Outdoors, crabapple seedlings require an area with well-drained soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5 and eight to 12 hours of direct sunlight exposure.

 Space the seedlings 2 feet apart and transpose them into their permanent location when they are about 4 feet tall.

Crabapple is a tropical plant, so it enjoys the sun!

10. Cleaning

Apple trees are very hardy trees that do not require much pruning to flourish. However, an occasional touch-up can encourage healthy new growth and help maintain an attractive silhouette.

Start by removing damaged or decaying branches that could invite disease.

You can then turn your attention to invasive branches, as well as crisscrossing or malformed branches that can steal valuable nutrients from the rest of the tree.

Do your major pruning during the dormant season. The ideal time to prune an apple tree is in late winter or early spring, before the new leaves begin to appear.

You can also avoid pruning in mid to early winter, although this can make the tree more vulnerable to cold-related injuries.

Avoid pruning your apple tree until after the first frost of the season to ensure dormant.

In a pinch, it’s okay to prune in early summer after the tree has finished blooming, although this can increase the risk of “fire blight” and other hot-weather diseases. Try to have your pruning finished before June (or December, if it is in the southern hemisphere).

Remove the basal cups.

Suckers are thin, invasive branches that grow underground and sprout around the bases of mature trees.

Most suckers are thin and weak enough to remove using a pair of garden shears. Trim the suckers down at the exact point where they emerge from the ground.

Basal suckers most often originate from the pattern into which the apple tree was grafted. These small branches can grow into completely new trees with different flowers and fruits if left alone.

Removing the suckers as soon as you detect them will redirect the energy to the parts of the crabapple tree that you want to conserve.

11. Plagues and diseases

Wild crabapples can be attacked by various insects, including borers, caterpillars, sap-sucking insects, and leafrollers.

Larger pests, such as moth larvae (caterpillars) and some Furlers, can be picked from the tree by hand and placed in a bucket of soapy water to kill them or sprayed with insecticides, such as horticultural oils or soaps, to suffocate them.

Aphids, mites, and other tiny sap-sucking insects can usually be removed from the foliage with a strong spray of water.

Knowing which insect is bothering the tree is vital in choosing the proper control method and pesticide.

12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022
12 Crabapple Trees Growing, Care and Design Tips 2022


Aphids are common insect pests that can affect many different plants. Spirea aphids and green apple aphids are two varieties that commonly attack apple and apple trees.

They are both small insects with soft, green bodies. Aphids feed on the young, tender shoots of apple trees, which generally do not cause significant damage but can reduce flowering and fruiting.

As they feed, the aphids also produce a waste substance called honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty mold.

Several commercially available pesticides can treat aphids, but they also kill natural predators of aphids, such as beetles and squid fly larvae. These predators generally keep aphids in check, so pesticides should only be used in extreme cases.

Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles feed on the soft tissue of the leaves and foliar veins of apple and other fruit trees.

They cause the most damage in early summer, giving the leaves a chewed lacy appearance. Traps can be set for Japanese beetles, but be sure to place them at least 50 feet away from your trees.

Otherwise, the beetles may stop feeding before entering the traps. Carbaryl-containing insecticides are also effective but should not be overused because overuse can cause mite populations to increase.

Many crabapple varieties are hardy, drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, adapt to various types of soil, and grow to a mature height of fewer than 20 feet.


Mites are small insects that sometimes infest crabapple trees but generally cause significant damage only in extreme cases.

Large-scale mite infestations can reduce the quantity and quality of fruit produced and decrease flowering in the year after an infestation.

Various insecticides can kill adult mites, but they do not affect the eggs. Mites have several generations in a season. Individuals pass from eggs to reproductive adults in about a week, so that a second treatment will be necessary seven to 10 days after the first.


Two caterpillars, leafminers, and rollers can feed on apple leaves, but natural predators and parasites generally control these pests.

Although generally, they do not cause significant damage, these caterpillars can reduce fruiting and flowering in rare cases and may need to be treated.

If necessary, insecticides containing Bacillus Thuringiensis effectively kill young Furlers without harming their natural enemies.

Disease problems

Some crabapple varieties were bred to resist diseases such as fire or verticillium wilt.

When choosing an apple tree, consider checking for disease resistance and other qualities such as height, flowering, fruiting, and care requirements.

Crabapple can be victims of fungal or bacterial diseases, such as crabapple scabies, powdery mildew, and rots.

Fungicides and bactericides can be used to protect trees from infection or to treat infections once they appear.

Pruning trees to improve air circulation, keeping the area around the tree free of plant debris where fungal spores may lurk, and improving soil drainage when necessary can help prevent disease.

Plant it near companion plants to prevent disease:

You can use “companion planting” to prevent pests, fertilize the soil, and ensure pollination of your crabapple tree. You want to plant your sugar apple tree close to the star fruit and mango trees. Under your crabapple tree, you want to grow flowers and herbs that attract beneficial insects and repel pests. Choose two or three of the following companion plants to place under your sugar apple tree:

  • the scallions
  • Wonderful
  • Garlic
  • Lemon balm
  • Mustard
  • Nasturtiums
  • Tansy
  • Yarrow

12. Do crabapple keep mice away?

Crabapples will not keep mice away. Crabapple trees are a natural and important source of winter food for mice. Leaving crabapple fruit on the ground will attract mice.

Keep mice away from crabapples.

Mice also eat the bark of small trees in the winter, causing damage to the tree. Removing fruit from the ground, mulching around the tree’s base, and wrapping the trunk in a hardware cloth helps keep mice away from crabapple trees. All varieties of crabapple are found in the genus Malus.

Are crab apple trees messy?

Crabapple trees provide beauty in the spring but a mess in the fall once the fruit drops. During the summer months, a tree can throw shade and reduce air conditioning costs.

What is a crabapple tree good for?

Not only are crabapples trees beautiful, they’re also an important early source of pollen for bees and a source of food for birds that overwinter here in Iowa. … Crabapples are also an excellent option for cross-pollinating other apple trees in the area.

Do crabapple trees grow fast?

The growth rate of crabapple trees is slow to moderate, advises Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, but some cultivars grow faster than others. … This tree only reaches 6 to 10 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 12 feet. It grows at a slow rate of fewer than 12 inches per year, advises Arbor Day Foundation.

Can you eat apples from a crabapple tree?

A crab apple’s flesh is perfectly safe for people to eat. But like other apples, the seeds contain a toxic compound that can turn into cyanide when eaten. But don’t worry — these apples are safe as long as you avoid the seeds and core.

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