Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crabapple Tree Information

spring flowers of crabapple tree
Flowering  crabapple tree

The crabapple is admired for its beautiful spring flowers and also for its late summer fruit. In spring the bloom buds will appear in the shade of reddish-purple and when the buds open the flowers are either white or pink.  

 Crabapple flowers bloom from April to May and the flowers last on the tree for approximately two weeks.  These spring flowers will attract orioles and warblers, the birds feed off the nectar. 

In late summer the tree will produce a small apple that is approximately two inches.  This apple is edible however the fresh fruit has a sour taste.  Many people make jelly from the fruit or they leave the fruit on the tree as forage for birds and wildlife.  

Buying Tips for Healthy Tree

Buy a crabapple tree at your local nursery.  Ask the salesperson if the burlap is natural or if it has a wax coating. If the burlap is natural it is best to plant the tree in the covering however if there is a wax coating it is better to purchase a tree grown in a container.

Planting Tips

Remove the tree from the container and wet the roots. By wetting the roots, you may loosen some of the roots from the root ball. If the roots are stubborn, use your hands untangle the roots.

Gently pull them away from the root ball. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, gently remove the bottom half of the burlap so that the roots are exposed.

Plant the crabapple tree in early spring as soon as you can break ground or in the fall six weeks before a hard frost. 

Grow the tree in a site that has full sun, good airflow and well-drained soil that has a slight alkaline of 6.0 to 8.0.  

Dig a hole that is the same depth as the container and twice the width of the root ball. The hole needs to be wide enough so that the roots are not crowded. Place the root ball in the center of the hole, gently position the roots to grow outward. Add some compost and work the soil around the roots. Fill the hole with the remaining soil and water around the base of the tree. 

Known Disease 
Watch the leaves and fruit for black spots this is a symptom of applescap.  Also look for the symptoms of fire blight.  The branches and leaves will turn black if they are infected with fire blight and this disease if not treated will eventually kill the tree.  

Cedar-apple-rust is very noticeable as there are orange-red spots on the leaves.  Powdery Mildew is more prevalent when there is not enough air circulation or high humidly. 

Check the leaves, flowers and fruit for the white powder fungus.

Care for Crabapple Tree

  1. Care for your tree by keeping the soil evenly moist for the first two years. Water the tree daily with drip irrigation.  The moisture in the soil will encourage a deep rooting.
  2. Apply four inches of organic mulch around your tree. 
  3. Feed your tree in the spring with a fertilizer formulated for flowering trees.
  4. Plant your tree  in the late afternoon when the sun is not intense or plant on a cloudy day.

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