Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crabapple Tree

It can be both frustrating and fascinating when you move into a home where you haven't planted the vegetation. In some cases recognizing the vegetation is quite easy but in other cases you may not know what is planted where until you do careful observation beginning in the spring. This is the situation we found ourselves in since moving here in 2007.

crabapple blossomsCrabapple Blossoms

We have three gorgeous flowering trees on our property. One is still unidentified, one is what we think is a flowering dogwood and one is a crabapple (Malus). Malus is a genus of about 35 small deciduous trees in the Rosaceae family. In most cases crabapple trees are grown for ornamental purposes. They put on a very pretty spring display of delicate blossom colour. Crabapples range in blossom colours from white to a deep almost fuschia pink. The flowers are 5 petals appearing in late April or early May.

Our crabapple tree is about 6 foot tall and spans about an 8' diameter. In the spring it puts on a showy display of white blooms with pale pink tinges. Once the blossoms are gone the tree is rather non-descript until the crabapples appear. These miniature, very sour apples are edible for both humans and birds.


The fruit of the crabapple tree ranges from bright red to redish yellow to yellow depending on the variety. It is quite small depending on the variety ranging about the size of a marble perhaps a bit bigger. The fruit should be harvested when it becomes red or ripe looking if it is a yellow variety. Signs of ripening are fallen fruit on the ground. However, if you leave the fruit to ripen to this point it is quite often infested with small worms making it useless for human consumption. So pick the fruit when there is a blush on the fruit but it is not fully red.

Our crabapples are pretty much ready for picking. I will pick enough to make a couple of batches of crabapple jelly then leave the rest for the birds. At the same time I'm a bit concerned that there appears to be a bit of yellowing on the leaves. I think it may be fungal but am fully not certain as it could be a side effect of our inclimate weather this year. At any rate, I will be picking the fruit and spraying with a foliar chamomile solution just in case.

crabapple detailsUp Close

The crabapples themselves are extremely sour although some have been known to enjoy eating them raw. When cut in half, crabapples look very much like miniature apples. The seeds resemble apple seeds as well. The leaves are a deeper green, elongated oval shape with opposing veins, smooth on the underside. They fall from the tree in early autumn.

One of the best uses for crabapples is crabapple jelly. If you are not making crabapple jelly clean up any fallen fruits from the ground and leave the rest on the tree for the birds. Fruit left on the tree will last though a good portion of the winter if the birds don't get it first. Small animals such as rodents and squirrels will enjoy any fallen fruit.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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