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Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Wild Crab, European apple

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.

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

Geography

Origin
North America and Asia
Natural climate
Cool to temperate

Environment

Light
Full Sun, 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
Pale pink to white with pink to red buds
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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