Frank P Matthews
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Crab Apple trees are the most diverse garden trees. Like other apples, they fall under the genus Malus. There are many beautiful varieties, producing a dazzling range of blossoms, fruit, foliage, and habits. 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.
Crab Apple trees are tolerant of almost any soil condition, except waterlogged, and are happy in full sun or partial shade. They will grow well in 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.
We would highly recommend planting a Crab Apple tree. They are very ornamental and are not big trees. The range of fruit colour is spectacular: bright yellow, dazzling pink, verdant green, rich scarlet or deep purple. The leaves often display lovely autumn colour too. In spring the blossom can be pure white or varying shades of pink and red. The blossom is profuse and they make excellent pollinators for all other apple trees. Insects and bees love the flowers and the birds love the fruit so they are great for wildlife. Crab Apple trees make some of the very best garden trees.
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.
Siberian Crab Apple
Vigorous tree. Oval finely toothed leaves are dark green above, paler beneath. Fragrant cup-shaped flowers.
Lovely variety with long, dark, healthy leaves. Ivory white flowers and clusters of dark red fruits. Disease resistant.
A spreading tree that appears to have arching branches due to the heavy crop of large glowing butter coloured 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.
Large, single soft pink flowers and bright green crab apple. Excellent autumn tints. Height after 10yrs up to 4m.
Large, white/pink flowers in April/May. Small red-yellow fruits holding well into winter. Medium height.
Small neat, round headed tree. Leaves turn orange-red in autumn. White flowers, red fruit. Up to 4m after 10yrs
Small compact tree. White blossom and large crops of yellow fruit. Height & Spread after 10yr 4m x 3m.
Yellow-orange crab apples are ribbed in appearance looking like mini pumpkins. Spring flowers are white and semi-double.