Flowering Crabapple Trees

By Jan Cashman • Posted on March, 24th 2018

For a quick overview, see the comparison chart/table below »

Care and Planting

Plant the graft (the bulge near the union of root and top) at soil level. Leave a depression around the tree for a watering well. Frequent watering (once or twice a week depending upon conditions) is necessary the first few years (and thereafter, during extremely dry periods) to establish a healthy tree. Cultivating around the tree and a fertilizer program will encourage good flowering.

Diseases And Pests

Trees must be protected in the winter from Voles and Mice by wrapping with screen or some material through which rodents cannot penetrate, up to the bottom branch. Repellants or fences are needed in areas where Deer might be a problem. Also, the trunks should be wrapped to protect from Sunscald which can blister and split the bark in the winter.

Fireblight

“Fireblight” is a bacterial disease that attacks flowering crab trees and others in this family. It affects young twigs first, traveling down the shoot. The bark may look watery, dark green and oily and eventually splits. Leaves on affected twigs die but hand on. Fire Blight is spread by insects and wind and is seen more often after wet springs. To control, plant resistant varieties. Prune out infected branches being careful to sterilize pruners between cuts to avoid spreading the disease. Also, the tree can be sprayed with streptomycin or copper sulfate. Spray just before blossoms open and then continue every four days. Do not spray after fruit has formed. Spraying will not cure Fire Blight but may prevent its spread.

Cedar Apple Rust

“Cedar Apple Rust” is a fungal disease that needs both cedars (upright junipers) and apple trees to complete its life cycle. The fungus forms galls on cedar trees, but it does the most damage to apple trees, forming yellow spots on the leaves, and fruit and causing early leaf drop. So, if possible, do not plant apple trees near upright junipers. Control cedar apple rust by spraying with fungicide such as Fung-onil just before the blossoms open, again when the blossom petals are falling, and twice more up to the middle of June.

Scab

“Scab” is a fungal disease that forms olive-brown velvety spots on leaves and young fruits. To control, remove and destroy leaf and fruit debris in the fall. In the spring, spray with a fungicide such as Fung-onil.

Flowering Crabapple Tree Varieties Comparison Chart 

Variety Bloom Color Fruit Foliage Height / Shape Hardiness / FireBlight
Bechtel Double Pink Little if any Fuzzy Green 20 ft / Vase Zone 4 – Susceptible
Dolgo White Crimson 1″ Fruits, Good Jelly Green 30 ft / Spreading Zone 2 – Resistant
Gladiator Bright Pink Reddish Purple Bronze-Purple 15 ft / Narrow Zone 2 – Resistant
Louisa Pink Gold Green 15 ft / Weeping Zone 4 – Resistant
Radiant Deep Pink Red – Persistent Green 20 ft / Round Zone 3 – Resistant
Red splendor Pink Red – Persistent Reddish-green 20 ft / Open Zone 3 – Susceptible
Ruby Tears Pink Dark Red Red-Green 8-10 ft /Weeping Zone 4 – Resistant
Rudolph Dark Pink Red – Persistent Bronze-green 16 ft / Upright Zone 2 – Resistant
Sargent White Dark Red Dark Green 8 ft / Wide Zone 4 – Resistant
Spring Snow White Fruitless Bright Green 25 ft / Round Zone 4 – Susceptible
Thunderchild Pale Pink Dark Red Deep Purple 15 ft / Upright Zone 3 – Resistant
Tina White Red Green 10 ft / Spreading Zone 4 – Resistant