report

Flowering Crabapple Trees - Four Seasons of Beauty

Flowering Crabapple Trees - Your Garden's Giving Tree

Crabapple trees are one of the most giving trees in the garden. They start in spring, clothing themselves in massive billows of bright blooms, filling the air with their welcome fragrance. In summer, their sturdy branches provide a safe homes for birds and their young, and shade for delicate flowers in the garden. In fall, many varieties blaze with color before they drop their leaves. In winter, they provide a source of food for birds and other animals.

I am passionate about crabapple trees, their beauty and their wonderful giving nature. I hope to encourage others to plant one in their yard by sharing this lens with you. Please share it with others if you find it useful or inspiring.

Pink Crabapple Tree - "Profusion" photo by Diane Cass. Do NOT use without permission, all rights reserved.
Pink Crabapple Tree - "Profusion" photo by Diane Cass. Do NOT use without permission, all rights reserved.

Glory in Spring

Blooms, glorious blooms!

Crabapple trees are known for their beauty as an ornamental tree in the home landscape. They cover their branches in blooms for two to three weeks every spring, if undisturbed by wind or rain. Their early flowering provides a welcome source of food for bees and butterflies, after a long, lean winter. White flowering trees look stunning against homes with dark exterior paint schemes. Pink and red blooms enhance homes with white or light color pallets. We have one of each. The picture in the introduction is of our deep-pink flowering "Profusion" in the front of our light-colored house. We have a lovely white tree in the back, where it is mostly seen against the green of the backyard lawn.

Golden Raindrops Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Golden Raindrops with pink budsGolden Raindrops in full bloomGolden Raindrops, an important source of food for beesGolden Raindrops, closeup of bloomsGolden Raindrops oak-shaped leavesGolden Raindrops with beautiful golden yellow  fruitGolden Raindrops loaded down with gorgeous crabapples
Golden Raindrops with pink buds
Golden Raindrops with pink buds
Golden Raindrops in full bloom
Golden Raindrops in full bloom
Golden Raindrops, an important source of food for bees
Golden Raindrops, an important source of food for bees
Golden Raindrops, closeup of blooms
Golden Raindrops, closeup of blooms
Golden Raindrops oak-shaped leaves
Golden Raindrops oak-shaped leaves
Golden Raindrops with beautiful golden yellow  fruit
Golden Raindrops with beautiful golden yellow fruit
Golden Raindrops loaded down with gorgeous crabapples
Golden Raindrops loaded down with gorgeous crabapples

Lush Foliage in Summer - Home to birds and butterflies

Butterfly on Crabapple Tree
Butterfly on Crabapple Tree

Crabapple trees develop a thick canopy of leaves in summer. Many varieties have the added interest of leaves that are in colors other than green, or of unusual shapes. Our "Profusion" tree out front has lovely bronzy-red colored leaves in late spring, and turn rich green in summer. It looks great against the tan color of our house. Our "Golden Raindrops" tree out back has the most beautifully shaped leaves I have ever seen on a crabapple tree. They are deeply lobed, and look almost like an oak leaf. This gives a beautiful, lacy look to the tree in summer.

Birds find the limbs to be very friendly and love to set up house on their branches. The dense growth of the leaves provides protection from the rain, and conceals the nest and growing family from unfriendly eyes. I have also noticed that butterflies seem to enjoy crabapple trees, even after the flowers are gone. I'm not sure what the attraction is, but they can be seen flitting among the branches from leaf to leaf. Perhaps the leaves give off a pleasant aroma that attracts the butterflies or maybe they can pick up traces of minerals or sweetness from the leaves? Whatever the reason, butterflies love my crabapple trees in summer

Crabapple Tree Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Golden Raindrops" Crabapple"Golden Raindrops" leaves"Profusion" Crabapple"golden Raindrops" CrabappleProfusion in Full BloomProfusion Blooms Up CloseGolden Raindrops in FallGolden Raindrops in FallClose-up of Golden Raindrops Oak-shaped leaves and yellow and gold fruit in Fall
"Golden Raindrops" Crabapple
"Golden Raindrops" Crabapple
"Golden Raindrops" leaves
"Golden Raindrops" leaves
"Profusion" Crabapple
"Profusion" Crabapple
"golden Raindrops" Crabapple
"golden Raindrops" Crabapple
Profusion in Full Bloom
Profusion in Full Bloom
Profusion Blooms Up Close
Profusion Blooms Up Close
Golden Raindrops in Fall
Golden Raindrops in Fall
Golden Raindrops in Fall
Golden Raindrops in Fall
Close-up of Golden Raindrops Oak-shaped leaves and yellow and gold fruit in Fall
Close-up of Golden Raindrops Oak-shaped leaves and yellow and gold fruit in Fall
Golden Raindrops in Fall Photo by Diane Cass
Golden Raindrops in Fall Photo by Diane Cass

Blazing Colors of Fall

Crabapple trees have done their duty for the summer, hosting families of robins, warblers and hummingbirds in their branches. In fall, many varieties clothe themselves in brilliant color in farewell to their feathered friends. Our "Profusion" tree out front turns a rich red before it drops it's leaves, leaving behind an abundance of small, ruby-red fruit. Our "Golden Raindrops" tree out back is simply breathtaking! The oak-shaped leaves literally glow in a brilliant golden-yellow with each leaf neatly trimmed with a bright red rim. When the leaves fall, the golden glow remains in the form of small golden fruit covering the branches. You can almost see the birds drooling in anticipation of the feast to come. The fruit is hard still, and will need a few frosts before it is soft enough for the birds to eat.

You can pick crabapples for canning or making jelly. They are naturally rich in pectin and make good jelly. They also add dimension and tang to homemade cider. It is, in fact, the secret ingredient of one of the best cider houses in Vermont, Cold Hollow Cider Mill. If you plan to use crabapples for cider or jelly, large-fruited varieties are best. Small fruits just don't have enough juice to be worth the effort. Leave the small crabapples for the birds to help them through winter.

Crabapple Tree in Winter
Crabapple Tree in Winter

A Banquet for Wildlife in Winter

In winter, crabapple trees become a banquet for wildlife when food is scarce or difficult to find due to snow cover. The best varieties for winter-feeding have small fruit that stays on the branches all winter. Trees that drop their fruit when ripe only benefit wildlife briefly in the fall. Their fruit will litter the ground, making it available only for a short time. The fruit soon rots, benefiting only the tree as fertilizer. People also view the dropped fruit as an unsightly mess. Trees that hold their fruit, however, are a different story altogether. The fruit retains its color for a long time, adding interest to the winter landscape. It also softens in the cold weather, making it easy for birds to eat. Most of the fruit will stay on the tree, but some will fall, feeding the ground dwelling animals as well. Our crabapple trees have become a focal point of the wildlife in our neighborhood. The animals that I have seen enjoying the fruit are; birds, deer, rabbits, possums, and many more that leave their tracks, but that I never see.

Crabapple Trees in Winter - The table is spread. Who is coming for dinner?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Robin enjoying the crabapple treeBluebird in the Crabapple tree. This was in the dead of winter in January.The "Golden Raindrops" crabapple tree in back. Here, it is covered in golden fruit...sometime in December. By March, it is stripped bare and all the apples have been eaten.A flurry of finches enjoying the crabapples.More finches in the crabapple tree.
Robin enjoying the crabapple tree
Robin enjoying the crabapple tree
Bluebird in the Crabapple tree. This was in the dead of winter in January.
Bluebird in the Crabapple tree. This was in the dead of winter in January.
The "Golden Raindrops" crabapple tree in back. Here, it is covered in golden fruit...sometime in December. By March, it is stripped bare and all the apples have been eaten.
The "Golden Raindrops" crabapple tree in back. Here, it is covered in golden fruit...sometime in December. By March, it is stripped bare and all the apples have been eaten.
A flurry of finches enjoying the crabapples.
A flurry of finches enjoying the crabapples.
More finches in the crabapple tree.
More finches in the crabapple tree.

...Crabapples Trees in Winter Continued

Possum in the Crabapple Tree
Possum in the Crabapple Tree

Many people don’t realize that even bluebirds will stay through winter if they have a consistent food source and shelter. We have a pair of bluebirds that live in our yard year-round, even though we live in the cold Northeastern United States. We don’t usually think of bluebirds as fruit eating birds, but they eat from our crabapple trees all winter. We also leave our birdhouses up to provide them shelter from icy winds and snow.

The full value of a crabapple tree that holds it’s fruit through the winter is revealed as winter melts into spring. Food is very scarce at this time, just as birds begin returning from the south. Our trees are the first stop for birds returning from their southern wintering grounds. I have counted up to a dozen or so robins in the tree at one time, in early February, feasting on the crabapples still hanging on the tree. We had a new visitor this year, a possum. He would come in broad daylight and spend a couple of hours lounging in the branches and daintily eating crabapples. He was the thrill of the neighborhood children, since possums are usually more secretive and nocturnal.

A Possum Dines in Style

Choosing Your Crabapple Tree

So, now you are excited and ready to buy your crabapple tree. What should you look for in order to choose a tree that is best suited for your home environment? Here is the basic information you should be aware of to select a tree that will be successful in your garden.

Zones: Crabapples can be grown in most areas of the United States. Generally, they are winter hardy to zone 4, and can tolerate the heat up to zone 8. Some varieties have been specially developed to grow and bloom beyond those zones. Most local nurseries will only stock trees that will grow successfully in your area. If you are buying from a catalogue or online, check the growing zone information carefully before you purchase your tree.

Color: In general, choose a tree that will complement the color of your home. Trees with dark blooms look better with light color houses and visa-versa. Most people think only of flower color when determining what crabapple tree to buy, but there are many more things to consider about color besides the blossoms.

Some trees have interesting colors in their leaves. Our “Profusion” tree out front starts out with reddish-bronze leaves in spring that compliment its pretty, pink flowers. The leaves change to deep green in summer, setting off the ruby-red fruit. Some trees, like our “Golden Raindrops” give a spectacular show in fall, with blazing gold or red leaves.

There is also the color of the fruit to consider. For trees that hold their fruit over the winter, red or golden fruit can add interest to an otherwise bleak landscape.

Height and Spread: Most crabapple trees do not get very tall, making them a nice accent for the front of your home. They also usually spread in proportion to their height. Some grow in weeping or dwarf forms giving you an even more compact look for tighter spaces. One tree even grows like a column, spreading very little over time. Make sure that the tree you pick will fit in the spot your are going to plant it in, taking into account room for future growth.

White Flowering Crapapples

Golden Raindrops
Golden Raindrops

White Flowered Crabapple Trees

  • "Golden Raindrops" - Pink buds to white blooms - Golden fruit - Oak-shaped leaves turn gold in fall
  • "Red Jade"- White blooms - Red fruit - Lovely weeping form
  • "Molten Lava" - Red fruit - Weeping habit with pretty yellow bark
  • "Sargent" - White blooms - Red fruit - Shrubby dwarf variety - Sometimes blooms and fruits profusely in alternate years.
  • "David" - Pink buds to white blooms - Red fruit - Blooms heavily alternate years
  • "Lancelot" - Red buds to white blooms - Golden fruit - Dwarf variety with golden yellow leaves in fal

Pink to Red Flowering Crabapples

Profussion
Profussion

Pink to Red Varieties

  • "Centurion" - Rosy red - Red fruit - Unusual columnar form that spreads a little with age
  • "Indian Magic" - Deep pink flowers - Orange -red fruit
  • "Indian Summer" - Rosy red blooms - Bright red fruits - Bronzy Green foliage turns orange-red in fall
  • "Louisa" - Pink blooms - Yellow fruit - Lovely weeping dwarf variety with a true umbrella shape
  • "Prariefire" - Red buds to purpleish red blooms - Purplish red fruit - Green leaves blaze orange-red in fall
  • "Profusion" - Deep pink flowers - Maroon fruit - Interesting change of color in leaves over the season from purple to bronzy-green
  • "Radiant" - Red buds to pink blooms - Red fruit - Foliage starts purple in spring changing to green in summer
  • "Robinson" - Deep pink blooms - Red fruit - Fast growing tree with unusual bronze leaf color
  • "Thunderbird" - Rosy pink blooms - Purplish red fruit - Unusual purple leaf color

My Crabapple Tree Was Hit Hard by Wet Spring

Apple Scab denies tree of fruit, and tree is losing it's leaves.

My poor Profusion crabapple tree. It has been languishing all summer. I noticed there was something wrong in early summer, when it appeared that the tree didn't have any fruit. At first I thought that maybe the blossoms didn't get pollinated, due to the unusually long, wet spring we had this year (2011). It wasn't until later in the summer, when all the leaves were turning yellow and dropping off that I got truly alarmed. I noticed that nearly all the red-flowering crabapples in the area (that I know about) are suffering the same fate. An investigation and a little research determined the cause. Apple Scab. It is a fungus that can develop in wet weather, can cause fruit not to set, and leaves to fall. It seems that red-flowering trees are especially susceptible to this disease.

It makes me so sad to see my beautiful tree looking like this. I am especially concerned about the birds and animals that use this tree for food in the winter. Our Golden Raindrops crabapple in back (a white-flowered tree) is fine and will bear fruit. I am thinking of making a feeder for the birds to provide raisins for them in lieu of the crabapples. If your tree has suffered from Apple Scab, you might want to do this too.

For more information on diseases of crabapple trees, click on the link below. Most fungal diseases can be fought, and are usually not lethal to the tree. Bacterial diseases will kill your tree. It is important to know how to prevent conditions that foster the growth of pathogens. It is also important to know if the tree you want to buy is susceptible to any diseases before you buy.

Crabapple Tree Weather Report 2012

This year has been hard on my poor "Profusion" crabapple tree out front. We had an early warm-up in the Spring that brought on early flowering. A week later, we had snow again.This killed most of the buds and as a result, we have few crabapples this year. This is now two years in a row that we have gotten little to no crabapples on the tree due to weather.

Again, our "Golden Raindrops" tree out back was completely unaffected. It bloomed about two weeks later than the pink flowering "Profusion", so it completely missed the deadly warm-up/freeze cycle we had this spring. It bloomed fully and is now loaded with tiny, golden crabapples for the birds this winter.

ADVISE:

The pink flowering crabapple is beautiful and I love it, but I am beginning to favor my white-flowering "Golden Raindrops" crabapple tree. It has come through two difficult springs unscathed, and in fact is thriving. If you are thinking of planting crabapple trees for winter food for local wildlife, consider using white-flowering carbapples, or at least a mix of white and pink. This would ensure the best chance of a healthy crop of crabapples for the birds to enjoy through the winter.

Do You Have Crabapples? 56 comments

acreativethinker 2 years ago

What a lovely and informative lens on Crabapple trees! They look so beautiful when they flower in the Spring. Thanks for sharing. Take care :)


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

I hope your tree made it through this hard winter okay. Almost time for spring blooms.


Lady Lorelei profile image

Lady Lorelei 3 years ago from Canada

We have a regular apple tree in our back yard and it provides us with a bounty of fruit in the fall. It is nice to know it is organic.


ian-patrick-716 profile image

ian-patrick-716 3 years ago

Nice post. I have a pink variety in the garden


siobhanryan profile image

siobhanryan 3 years ago

Blessed-as a child I ate more crab apples than I care to remember-lovely photos and tribute to the age old crab apple tree


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 3 years ago from New York Author

@Lee Hansen: Some crabapple varieties have apples that are quite large. Not as big as a regular eating apple, but still, maby the size of a golf ball or a little larger. We had a friend in Vermont with a 100 year old crabapple tree. It had large fruit and the fruit was SWEET! They were the most delicous apples.


Lee Hansen profile image

Lee Hansen 3 years ago from Vermont

We have an old apple tree in our yard that hubby misnomers as a crabapple. I think he means scab apple ... but it's lovely in spring and wildlife like the undersized apples. Crabapples are truly beautiful trees, especially in spring and fall.


Frischy profile image

Frischy 3 years ago from Kentucky, USA

This is a lovely lens! I enjoyed looking at the beautiful blossoms and thinking about spring being just around the corner.


jptanabe profile image

jptanabe 3 years ago from Red Hook, NY

We don't have a crabapple tree, but our neighbors do. I'll have to check and see if the local possum is eating their fruit - love that video of the possum!


khatha0808 3 years ago

Nice lens. Can't believe this lens was flagged too. Hope you can fix it before time out.


Board-Game-Brooke profile image

Board-Game-Brooke 3 years ago from US/TN

These are pretty trees! I love the one with the pink flowers.


Birdlady LM profile image

Birdlady LM 4 years ago

I don't have any, but this is a beautiful lens. They are beautiful.


BestRatedStuff profile image

BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

Don't have one. But think they are absolutely gorgeous. Great lens


lkamom profile image

lkamom 4 years ago from Marryland

I had a crabapple tree in the yard where I grew up. It was very pretty.


vegetablegardenh profile image

vegetablegardenh 4 years ago

We don't have crabapples, but we have a giant apple tree in our garden that is in full bloom right now. And I love your photo galleries - gorgeous!


RinchenChodron 4 years ago

Yes, with both pink and white blooms. Love them. Great lens!


JohnMichael2 profile image

JohnMichael2 4 years ago

great presentation ... I enjoyed it


infiniti99 lm profile image

infiniti99 lm 4 years ago

Great lens.Being a landscaper I do plant many crab trees on a regular basis davids,GRD,Sargents and Red jades.I have more than 40 scheduled to be planted already on many jobs because of a large heavy wet October snowstorm that destroyed so many crabs and pears out here in Massachusetts.


TTMall profile image

TTMall 4 years ago

Loved Your Lens! You really put a lot of good information in it.


JoshK47 4 years ago

What truly beautiful trees - thanks for sharing these photos! Blessed by a SquidAngel!


moonlitta 4 years ago

I don't which is really sad! I will look into getting some...


Pam Irie profile image

Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

This is a truly beautiful lens. The photos, the information, the portion from Carl Sandberg.....great touch! Top notch work; blessed!


Anahid LM profile image

Anahid LM 4 years ago

Hi It is beautiful lens i like the flowers of apple trees I have one apple tree no crab apple tree. Thank you. Anna


kathysart profile image

kathysart 4 years ago

I don't but wow are they BEAUTIFUL! This lens is beautiful too.. all the glorious pics.. ahh I can almost feel spring. Angel blessed.


poutine 4 years ago

Just came back to look at those beautiful photos.


gamecheathub profile image

gamecheathub 5 years ago

The leaf colors on these crabapple trees are STUNNING. I didn't even know that there was a crabapple before this lens. I learned a lot and really enjoyed the pics. Thank you!


norma-holt profile image

norma-holt 5 years ago

Funny, but I was taking pics of the apples and things just this morning. A rather large crab apple hangs over the fence from my neighbour's and merges with the netarine and they make a gorgeous show when both are in flower. It must confuse the bees and other bugs though. Great lens, love it


poutine 5 years ago

Love all the photos showcased here in this lens.


poutine 5 years ago

Love all the photos showcased here in this lens.


anonymous 5 years ago

love 'em! Great job on finding all these great photos of crabapple trees. Glad I browsed by tonight. If you like to browse lens as I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.


anonymous 5 years ago

Very nice. Thank you.


hsschulte profile image

hsschulte 5 years ago

This is a beautiful lens!


Showpup LM profile image

Showpup LM 5 years ago

Such a gorgeous tree. I wish I had some here. May have to do some planting! Love the opossum picture and video. So cute!


Monika Weise profile image

Monika Weise 5 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

I love crabapple trees! Great lens :)


Joan Haines profile image

Joan Haines 5 years ago

What beautiful blossoms and photography!


Joyce Mann profile image

Joyce Mann 5 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

I LOVE any tree that flowers. Great lens!


bossypants profile image

bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

Congratulations on your purple star! We deserved honor!


ajtyne profile image

ajtyne 5 years ago from North Carolina

Gorgeous photos! I'm going to have to get me a crabapple tree -- or two, maybe more! I guess they grow OK in the South?


pheonix76 profile image

phoenix76 5 years ago from WNY

A beautiful lens. I love crabapple trees, it just would not be spring without them! :)


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

@Snakesmom: Why thank you snakesmom. : )


Snakesmom profile image

Snakesmom 5 years ago

What a beautiful lens Diane!


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

@Virginia Allain: I have friends with mulberry trees. I'll have to get some pics when they are in bloom and do a lens on mulberries. Great idea Virginia.


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

@Diane Cass: Can you find some mulberry trees to take photos of and make a lens on that tree next? This might be your niche.


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

@Virginia Allain: You're such an angel Virginia. Thank you for the encouragement.


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

Blessed by a Squidoo Angel.

Lovely pictures, personal relationship to the subject and good coverage. Well done!


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

@NHgal LM: Oh yes, birds love Mulberries. I did't know they got tipsy with them though. I bet the mulberry stains would never come out of the laundry.


NHgal LM profile image

NHgal LM 5 years ago

@Diane Cass: My inlaws had a mulberry tree. When the fruit got overripe, the birds got tipsy, and deposited a purple mess on the laundry hanging outside. Great lens.


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

@bossypants: Yes, I think they were a little drunk. I've heard of that happening. What a funny sight that would be.


bossypants profile image

bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

What a beautiful lens! I learned a lot. I didn't know crab apples were used in cider! What lovely photographs. Heck, Diane, you can even make an opposum look cute (Oooo, those pointy teeth!)

I grew up in a house with a Dolga Crab in our front yard garden. The multiple freezes and thaws must have fermented the fruit because it often looked like the birds and squirrels got a little tipsy. The spring blossoms were such a joy!


jolou profile image

jolou 5 years ago

I love the crabapple trees, especially in blossom! Spring is my favorite season too. I used to love eating the crabapples as a child, and you are right, they make nice jelly.


kittycooks 5 years ago

Nice pictures! I love the white admiral. They eat fruit and your trees provide a wonderful dinner plate.


OhMe profile image

OhMe 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

This is such a beautiful lens and so informative about the Crabapple Trees. My thoughts immediately went to the path I took walking to school as a child. Your lens even conjured up the smell of the Crabapple Tree as I carefully strolled to school (being careful not to step on a crack for fear of breaking my mother's back). Thank you for this wonderful read.


karMALZEKE profile image

karMALZEKE 5 years ago

This is wonderful information. I want to grow a crabapple tree. The tree in your Spring photo is beautiful in bloom. What vibrant color!


Nancy Hardin profile image

Nancy Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Diane, your lens brought back memories of childhood in Kentucky to me. The crabapple trees were so wonderful in bloom, and yes, the little apples were so good for the birds. I like this lens, and I don't think it is too long. I have ones much longer.


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

Your crabapple tree is gorgeous and I can see why you are featuring it on these Zazzle products.

What do you do to take care of your tree?


Diane Cass profile image

Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi all. I'm still learning how to use Squidoo. This lens is a work in progress. I would love to hear from expert lens masters how I can make my lens better and be successful on Squidoo.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Diane Cass profile image

    Diane Cass25 Followers
    34 Articles

    Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about.



    Click to Rate This Article

    Menu

    Resources