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A picture of a Crab Apple

Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Also known as

Wild Crab, European Apple, Apple Tree

Full Sun
Easy care
Frequent watering
Frost Hardy

8a

USDA zone

-12°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

12m

Max

8m

3m

Min

2m

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

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.

More images

Malus sylvestris (villeple) knopper
Malus sylvestris inflorescence, Vosseslag, Belgium
Malus sylvestris Wild Crab მაჟალო (2)
Villeple

Overview

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.

Common 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.

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

Uses

Culinary

Edible

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