Tree of the Month: Crabapple

Tree of the Month: Crabapple.

Attractive and fragrant, the crabapple tree is a wonderful addition to any landscaping design. Though the raw fruit is smaller and sourer than their apple cousins, certain varieties also offer a source of fruit for jellies and preserves.

Colourful Beginnings

Sharing their familial lineage with the common apple tree, crabapple trees are of the Malus genus and also of the rose family (Rosaceae). Native to the cold and cool areas of Russia and Asia, stiffer and spinier crabapple trees made their way to North America sometime in the 18th century. Often referred to as "jewels of the landscape,” their small, colourful fruit is green or red, some with orange and pink blushes, the vibrant colours withstanding the winter if not picked, offering lively colour even through the bleakness of winter. Crabapple tree leaves, shorter and narrower than the common apple, offer fragrant single, double, or semi-double white, pink or red flowers in spring and summer depending on variety, their bright green foliage turning brilliant in the fall.

Rich in Meaning

Crab apples have a longstanding association with love and marriage, and the trees themselves symbolic of youth, joy, magic, and surprise… the embodiment of endless possibilities.

A Cornucopia of Varieties

Sold as bare-root for spring plantings, there are hundreds of crabapple tree varieties, from full-size trees reaching 3-8 metres tall to dwarf varieties for containers. Shapes include weeping, upright, pyramidal and vase, making them great for everything from courtyard couture to home privacy screening, and even the delineation of driveways.

What Type of Crabapple Tree Are You Looking For?

  • Popular and time-tested:
    “Transcendent,” “Centennial” and “Dolgo.”
  • Early flowering:
    "Aldenhamensis,” Siberian crabapple and M. floribunda.
  • Small and tasty:
    The dwarf variety, “Maypole.”
  • Colourful foliage:
    Try the purple foliage of “Eleyi,” the green apples and pink blushes of “Elise Rathke,” or the red, maple-like leaves of M. trilobata.

An easy friend

Crabapple trees prefer full sun, though some varieties may tolerate partial shade. They thrive in rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil, and are capable of withstanding dry conditions. An easy friend, crabapple trees do not require much care but for occasional watering and pruning for shape.

Ready to add a little colour to your world? For help with the selection, planting, and maintenance of crabapple trees, contact The Grounds Guys today.