How to Grow Crab Apple Fruit Trees
Crab Apple trees are a fruit tree, which is very popular as a landscaping
ornamental. Homeowners like them for the profusion of fragrant flowers, that
have a long lasting spring bloom.
Crab Apples are a deciduous tree, with over 500 varieties. They grow 15 -
25 feet tall, depending upon variety. The flowers are various shades of red,
By definition, a Crab Apple tree, is any tree that produces fruit less than
2 inches in diameter. The fruit is varying shades of red, or yellow. Crab
apples are edible, with a tart flavor. People who collect the fruit for
consumption, most often use them for jellies. Birds and squirrels seek these
small fruits in the fall, too.
Did You Know? The seeds are called "pips".
Propagation of Crab Apple Trees:
Crab Apple trees are propagated from seeds. Collect the seeds from ripe fruit
in the fall. Wash the seeds. Then, dry them on a screen or drying rack for
2-3 weeks. The seeds require a cold chilling period, called "stratification",
for 3 months or longer. Place dried seeds in a baggie and place them in the
refrigerator, or another cold location like a garage or shed. But importantly,
do not place them where the seeds may freeze.
You can also propagate them from cuttings.
Nowadays, most people buy young trees from a garden store, or online.
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Planting Crab Apple Trees:
Transplant young crab apple tree saplings into your yard or garden in the
spring or summer. Most likely, the container of the tree you purchased, is
made of a bio-degradable, heavy peat material. After planting, it will soften
and break down in the moist soil, allowing the roots to easily penetrate
it and grow. If the container is plastic or some other material, you need
to carefully remove the roots from it during planting.
If you are growing more than one tree, space them 10 - 20 feet apart.
Dig a hole about three times as big and deeper than the root ball. Mix in
plenty of rich compost into the hole, along with fresh, rich soil.
If it is in a peat container, cut slits in the container to speed up its
decomposition, and to help the roots to emerge easier.
Plant the tree to a depth equal to where it is in the container. Do not plant
Fill in around the roots with a mixture of compost and soil. Tamp down the
soil lightly around the tree.
If planted in a windy area, stake the tree so it will grow straight.
Water well and deeply in the first year. Repeat deep watering frequently,
to help new roots to grow and spread.
Ideal pH level: 6.0 - 7.5
How to Grow Crab Apple Trees:
Grow crab apple trees in full sun. Shaded trees produce a less dense foliage,
and fewer flowers and fruit. Shade also makes them moe susceptible to plant
Once your crab apple tree is established, it should grow well with little
Using fruit tree fertilizer spikes for the first few years, will help
young trees to get off to fast, healthy start.
The roots grow deeply. Established trees usually do not need extra water.
Mulch around the tree, to keep weeds, down and maintain an attractive appearance.
Pruning Crab Apple Trees:
Like other plants, pruning your crab apple tree is healthy for it. This should
be done during late winter to early spring, before the new year's growth
Prune the tree yearly, to remove dead or unhealthy branches and limbs. You
can also prune branches to maintain a shapely looking tree.
Annual pruning will help keep your tree smaller and more manageable, too.
Each spring, before buds open, apply a dormant oil fruit tree spray. This
will kill a variety of insects. Apply a fruit tree spray frequently during
the season, if you have problems with insects or disease. Follow the directions
on the label for application and use.
Like other apple trees, Crab Apples plant disease is common. Regular
use of fruit tree sprays and fungicides will minimize this potential problem.
Recipes: May we suggest:
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