Flowering crabapples: showstoppers of spring

Steve WegnerIn the Milwaukee area, it is hard to find any single species that puts on more of a show than the Crabapples do in spring.  A drive through Whitnall Park while the Crabapples are in bloom will convince you of this – it is truly a sight to behold.   One blooming Crab tree can light up a yard, and fill the air with fragrance.  However, the value of the Crabapple is not limited to spring.   Most Crabapples also have an excellent display of fruit in fall and into winter, and some persist through the winter.  The fruit of a ‘Red Jewel’ Crab can cover the branches, and is an excellent choice for winter interest in the landscape.  Other Crabapples have interesting foliage color with reddish or purple tints, and while they are not known for their fall color some, such as ‘Royal Raindrops’ can put on a beautiful fall display.   Some of the drawbacks that are often associated with Crabapples are disease susceptibility and messy fruit.  While this is true with some Crabs, most of the newer varieties are disease resistant, and many have fruit that persists into winter (some, such as ‘Spring Snow’, have no fruit at all).   Another feature of the Crabapple is its variety in form.  Many Crabs fall in the 15-20’ high and wide range, but other form types include: compact/dwarf (‘Coralburst’ 10’H x 10’W), upright/narrow (‘Pink Spires’ 20’ H x 12’W), short and spreading (‘Tina’ 8’H x 15’W) and weeping (‘Louisa’ 12’H x 15’W).   With so much variety, there are selections of Crabs that are suitable for most any landscape setting.

crab mix

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