Frank P Matthews
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Malus trees or Crab Apple trees are the most diverse of garden trees. There are many beautiful varieties, producing a dazzling range of blossoms, fruit, foliage, and habits. The Crab Apple flowers mostly appear in April and May in abundance, often covering the whole tree. Some are pure white, others are very deep red or purple. They can be single-petalled open flowers or more dense double flowers. Crab Apple blossom is fantastic for insects and great for pollinating apple trees.
Malus trees produce fruit in the form of Crab Apples. These are smaller than normal eating apples and are best used for jellies. Although there is no scientific distinction, apples that are smaller than two inches in diameter are considered to be Crab Apples. The taste is sourer than normal eating apples and they are much higher in antioxidants and vitamin C. They also make excellent natural bird feeders. Some varieties have very persistent fruit that remains on the tree well into winter, providing an excellent food source for birds.
Malus Crab apples are tolerant of almost any soil condition, except waterlogged, and happy in full sun or partial shade, Malus trees suit almost any garden. They are very disease-resistant and trouble-free. All Malus can be pruned hard to shape if required so they can grow in even the smallest garden. Some dwarf varieties and those grafted onto a dwarf rootstock are also ideal for keeping in a pot.
As well as dwarf varieties, Crab Apple trees can be very upright, growing in a column, weeping in an elegant umbrella shape, or spreading out like a mushroom. Most make a dainty tree that can be planted as a single specimen or grown in groups or borders with other plants.
A charming, dwarf, upright growing Malus with semi-double white flowers and persistent small apricot coloured fruit.
Leaves shiny dark burgundy to black. Bright purple/pink flowers in spring turn a very dark red/maroon.
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Pretty bright pink flower contrasting with purple and rich green leaves followed by small dark purple fruit.
A rounded, broadly spreading tree, with violet-magenta flowers, and small, cherry-like dark purplish red fruits in autumn.
Upright, broad-rounded tree, fragrant, rose pink, double flowers in April. Followed by large, chartreuse fruits.
A spreading tree that appears to have arching branches due to the heavy crop of large glowing butter coloured fruit.
A beautiful dainty and graceful tree with oriental horizontally-tired branches covered with pink flowers. Dark purple fruit.
Laden with bright red blossoms early in the season. Foliage glossy red all summer and small red fruits in autumn.
Smallish, elliptic, yellow fruits that usually persist well after Christmas. Med-sized tree, white flowers in April.
Dwarf variety, with coral pink buds opening to double rose pink flowers. Bronze fruit. Height after 10yrs 2m x 1.5m.
Small semi-pendulous tree. Pale pink flowers followed by crops of scarlet fruits. Height after 10yrs up to 4m.
A strong growing round headed tree with pink buds, white flowers, dark green foliage. Fruits small and bright red.