Ornamental Crabapple Trees

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Last call for bare root fruit trees. This is the most economical way to plant an orchard, so choose your trees now.
    • Lily of the valley is a sweet, shade-loving perennial that can be planted now from “pips” available at the nursery.
    • Mouth-watering strawberries should be planted now for delicious berries this summer. Plant them in a sunny, well-drained bed.
    • Summer flower bulbs can be planted now. Choose from gladiolus, dahlias, begonias, lilies and more.
    • Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and peas grow best in the spring and don’t mind a little frost. Set out plants now and grow your own!

Ornamental Crabapple Trees

Crabapples are some of our most ornamental flowering trees. They offer striking spring bloom, healthy leaves and colorful fruit that hang on the tree through the fall and winter months. They are small-to-medium-sized trees that are easy to grow in this area.

Just as the leaves start to emerge, the colorful flowers of crabapple trees burst out in clouds of fragrant white, pink or red blossoms, hiding the small leaves beneath. As the season progresses, the fruits develop and take on color. By fall they dangle from the branches like red, orange or yellow baubles. On some varieties, the fruits persist into winter and are attractive to birds. Beautiful golden leaves brighten the fall landscape with some varieties.

In the spring, crabapples are in their glory. ‘Snowdrift’ has red buds which open to single white flowers that bloom over a long period. It has a rounded crown that is very symmetrical and bright green, glossy leaves. Small orange fruit hang on the tree into the fall.

‘Floribunda’ is pink in bud, opening to a profusion of pale pink flowers, followed by small yellow-red fruit. This spreading, irregularly shaped tree has a fine winter silhouette. It is an old variety which has proven over the years to be one of the best.

‘Radiant’ has red buds which open to deep pink flowers. The new foliage is purplish red, turning more green in summer. Bright red 1/2-inch fruit adorn the tree in the fall. The broad, rounded tree reaches 20 feet tall and wide.

‘Hopa’ has large, fragrant, rosy red single flowers, with a white star shape in the center. They are followed by colorful, orange-red fruit. The tree is upright, broadening with age, and has dense, dark green foliage that turns yellow in the fall.

‘Bechtel Klehm’ has large, very double fragrant pink flowers that almost resemble small roses against the soft green, disease-resistant foliage. This round-headed tree blooms later than the other varieties and produces few fruit. In fall, the golden leaves light up the landscape.

‘Prairifire’ is one of the best red leafed crabapples, and makes an impressive statement in the landscape. The long-lasting bright red flowers are followed by dark red 1/2-inch fruit. It has attractive reddish bark and excellent disease-resistance.

Most crabapple trees range from 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Prune them when young only to build a good framework; annual pruning is not necessary. Fruit ranges in size from 1/2 to 1 inch on most ornamental varieties. Some, like ‘Hopa’, bear fruit which is good for crabapple jelly. All crabapples can be used as pollenizers for fruiting apple trees.

Crabapples make fine lawn trees and are very showy planted in rows along driveways or walks. Plant primroses, spring bulbs and shade-loving summer bedding plants underneath for color throughout the season.