In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
May, 2003
Regional Report

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Whatever your landscape situation, there is a crabapple to suit your needs.

So Many Crabapples, So Little Time!

There are over 400 named varieties of crabapples. A few are still grown for their edible apples, but mostly we are spellbound by the beauty of the blossoms and fruits of ornamental crabapples. Whatever your landscape situation, there is a size, shape, and color to suit. A bonus characteristic of these beautiful plants is that they are extremely hardy and adaptable to many situations. And the most beautiful cultivars available today also are disease resistant. There is no longer any need to tolerate a tree that has lost its leaves in August because of apple scab.

Crabapples range from the six-foot-tall shrubby 'Sargent' crab with its fragrant, clear white blossoms and small deep red persistent fruits to the twenty-five foot 'Adams' crab with its wide-spreading crown, rosy red flowers, deep red fruits and bronze foliage. Flower color can be clear white, pale pink, deep pink, bright pink, fuchsia, magenta, carmine red, or burgundy, and the blossoms might be small single blossoms or huge double blossoms.

Although at this time of year we are bowled over by the flowers, it's important to choose a crabapple for its other attributes as well. After all, we have to live with it all year long, not just in the two weeks it is in bloom. Happily, crabapples have other attributes that make them lovely landscape trees.

Beautiful Fruit, Foliage, and Bark
The newer cultivars have persistent fruit, making them attractive focal points in late summer through winter. Fruits come in all colors, from deepest purple to crimson to russet to yellow to gold. Sizes range from tiny pea-sized apples to marble-sized shiny globes.

Crabapples have striking bark in shades of cinnamon, brown, and gold, and many times the bark exfoliates, making it all that much more attractive. Glossy leaves are usually the case, with some crabapples even having purplish to bronze foliage. Many crabapples also have stunning bright fall color in shades of orange, red, and bronze. Couple these characteristics with the form of your choice, whether upright, columnar, weeping, rounded, or shrubby, and you will have a magnificent, small, blooming tree for your landscape.

Some Exceptional Varieties
Here are a few good choices for the landscape, although there are hundreds more:

'Coralburst' grows eight feet by eight feet with coral pink buds that open to double rose pink flowers.

'Harvest Gold', an upright-spreading form, has red buds that open to white with a pink blush, and bright yellow fruits with red stems.

'Weeping Candied Apple' has pendulous branches, red buds opening to dark pink flowers, and bright crimson fruit.

'Bob White' has yellow fruit and white flowers.

'Donald Wyman' has red fruits and white flowers.

'Indian Magic' has red-orange fruits and pink flowers.

'Mary Potter' has red fruits, white flowers, and a weeping habit.

'Molten Lava' has red-orange fruits, white flowers, and a spreading habit.

'Ormiston Roy' has orange-yellow fruits and white flowers.

'Prairiefire' has purple-red fruits and coral-red flowers.

'Strawberry Parfait' has yellow to red fruits, pink flowers, and an attractive erratic growth habit.

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