Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Wild Crab, European Apple, Apple Tree

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Crab apple trees are tall deciduous trees that bloom prolifically during spring, have decorative edible fruit and often have attractive autumn foliage. The trees are often grown as cross-pollinators in commercial orchards. Crabapples make good ornamental trees because of their decorative fruit, pretty flowers and occasional​ autumn colour.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Some crabapple fruit are red when ripe while others are yellowish-orange. The easiest way to tell if fruit are ripe is to cut them in half to see if the seeds are brown, which means they are ready to be picked.

Propagation

Cuttings

Cuttings for grafting should be done in midwinter when trees are in rest or bud in early autumn to allow to grow into the rootstock over winter.

Seed

Sow seed in a seedbed 1-2 cm deep in autumn, 3-6 cm apart or keep seeds in fridge for 3 months for stratification and plant in Spring. Graft or bud desired cultivar on seedling.

Special features

Autumn colour

The trees often have attractive autumn leaves

Special features

Origin

North America and Asia

Natural climate

Cool to temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Wet

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Edible

The fruits are edible raw and can be made into jelly, preserves, and cider.

Notes

Culinary

Personality

Family

Rosaceae

Flower colour

Pink, White, Red

Scent

Mild

Problems

Crabapples suffer from aphids, apple canker, apple scab, blossom wilt, caterpillars, fireblight, powdery mildews, spider mite, honey fungus, and woolly aphid. Also look out for snout beetles, codling moth, fruit fly and fusi.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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