Saturday, March 12, 2011

Attract Wildlife with Crabapple Tree

Spring blooms of crabapple tree
Crabapple in full bloom

Grow a crabapple tree for wildlife and for beauty. This tree is eye appealing in spring when flowers will cover every inch of the branches.  The spring blooms attract orioles and warblers, these birds enjoy the nectar that is found in the  flowers.  

In late summer the tree will bear fruit, the fruit is small only two inches in diameter and the appearance is much like a normal apple.  The fruit has a bitter taste however it is edible and you can make a crabapple jelly. 

I prefer to grow the tree for wildlife forage. Mockingbirds, bluebirds, robins and waxwings eat the crabapples.  Another way to feed wildlife is from the insects that are attracted to the fruit.  These insects  provide forage for birds and bats. The small apple shaped fruit will stay on the tree throughout the winter season.This fruit is forage for deer, possums and raccoons.

When I moved to the central states I joined the Arbor Day Foundation and in return they sent me 3 flowering trees.  These trees were 16 inches tall when I planted them and within two years my crabapple was three feet tall with a similar spread. 

October crabapple fruit
As I recall the crabapple bloomed the second year that I had planted it and produced fruit in late summer.  The tree grew an average of one foot per year and when full grown it was 25 feet in height.  If you want to add a focal point to your landscape and attract birds and wildlife to your yard then grow a flowering crabapple tree.

Learn more about attracting wildlife with crabapple trees by viewing youtube video:

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