The Flowering Crab Apple Tree
The flowering crab apple tree though has even more hidden values. This pretty ornamental tree can be a great pollinator for your eating apple trees and can help increase the yields of your fruit trees!
The pollen of a flowering crab tree is able to fertilize the flowers of eating apples so it is a good idea to plant them near your other trees.
Wild crab apples are natives to Europe, Asia and North-America. As ornamentals for gardens though the hybrids are the most common choice. The flowering season of these modern hybrids is definitely a highlight in any garden!
In the autumn the crab apple trees surprise us again with their colorful little fruits. Depending on the variety they vary in size, shape and color.
Particularly wild birds benefit from those late fruits that provide food for them when there is little else available.
The pretty flowers also vary depending on variety. They can be white, pink or red. Double flowered varieties are also available.
These flowering ornamental trees can reach a hight of 19-26 ft m. They have a bushy habit often with a broad pyramid shape. They are frost hardy and tolerate urban climate and pollution.
Choose a sunny spot for your flowering crab apple tree. These trees are in general easy to grow and tolerate a wide range of soils. A moist but well drained, humus rich soil is best for them. They prefer a pH of 5 to 6.5.
Diseases like fire blight, mildew and rust can be problem. There is an easy solution for this though: choose disease-resistant varieties! The varieties shown below are very healthy and show good disease resistance.
Photo: Rupert Brun
Trimming crab apple trees is best done during winter or very early spring. Remove old and diseased wood and reduce the overall amount of branches by about a third. Always keep the natural shape of the tree in mind. A well pruned tree does not look chopped or unnatural. It should still have its natural habit after pruning.
Always remove the straight shoots that appear right above the ground level. These are produced by the rootstock and are below the graft. They will weaken the tree and you will end up with a wild tree if these shoots are not taken off.
Probably one of the nicest crab apple trees. The flowers are of a dark crimson color and appear in abundance. The red apples are very long lasting and stay on the tree until December.
This Flowering Crab Apple tree variety is very disease-resistant.
A lovely variety with pinky-red flowers and purple foliage in the spring. The beautiful foliage is a real bonus and colors orange in the fall! The fruits are red and long-lasting.
A very hardy and disease-resistant variety.
This crab tree has white flowers flushed with a bit of red and flowers profusely in the spring. The flower buds are of a crimson red before they open up. Apples are orange-red and again very long lasting.
A very elegant and colorful variety that has the added bonus of good disease-resistance.
This wonderful tree has fragrant white flowers that are flushed with pink. They open in abundance in May. The flowers are followed by red berry-like fruit that stay on the tree for autumn and winter.
This is also a very healthy and disease-resistant variety.