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.
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Crab Apple Overview
Malus sylvestris is commonly known by the names Crab Apple, Wild Apple, European Apple or Apple Tree. Crab Apple are small, rounded, deciduous trees that bloom prolifically during spring, have decorative edible fruit and often attractive autumn foliage. Leaves are oval and the flowers white tinged with pink. The blooms measure around 5cm across, appearing from late spring. The flowers lead onto green-yellow fruits measuring up to 3cm across, sometimes flushed with red. They are often grown as cross-pollinators in commercial orchards. Crab Apples make good ornamental trees because of their decorative fruit, pretty flowers and occasional autumn colour.
Common problems with Crab Apple
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.
How to propagate Crab Apple
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.
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 of Crab Apple
The trees often have attractive autumn leaves
Attracts useful insects
Other uses of Crab Apple
The fruits are edible raw and can be made into jelly, preserves, and cider.
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