Ornamental crabapples are a group of small flowering
trees used for landscape plantings. They are valued for
their foliage, flowers, fruit and variations in form and size.
Leaves and Buds
Bud Arrangement – Alternate.
Bud Color – Reddish-brown, with several imbricate scales.
Bud Size – 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
Leaf Type and Shape – Simple, ovate to elliptical-oblong.
Leaf Margins – Finely-serrate to irregularly toothed or
Leaf Surface – Variable, glabrous to pubescent.
Leaf Length – 1½ to 3¼ inches.
Leaf Width – 3/4 to 2 inches.
Leaf Color – Dark or olive-green above, paler green
beneath; yellow fall color. Cultivars with variable
purplish leaf colors are also planted.
Flowers and Fruits
Flower Type – Umbel or corymb-like racemes.
Flower Color – White to pink to rose to carmine-red
Fruit Type – A pome with persistent or deciduous calyx.
If fruit is less than 2 inches in diameter it is typically
classified as a crabapple.
Fruit Color – Range from red to yellow to green.
Growth Habit – Range from tall informal-spreading
to densely-oval, globose, narrow-upright or pendulous
Texture – Medium-fine, summer; medium, winter.
Crown Height – 10 to 25 feet.
Crown Width – 15 to 25 feet, except narrow-upright
Bark Color – Gray-brown to reddish-brown.
Root System – Spreading, fibrous.
Soil Texture – Adapted to a variety of soils, prefers
a heavy loam soil.
Soil pH – 5.0 to 7.5, prefers slightly acidic soils.
Windbreak Suitability Group – 1, 3, 4, 4C, 5, 6D, 6G.
USDA Zone 3.
Prefers well-drained, moist soils. Moderately drought
tolerant. Tolerance varies by hybrid parentage.
Small tree for farmstead windbreaks and highway
Crabapples provide fair cover and high quality fruit
and browse for many birds and mammals. Rodents and
rabbits can destroy trees by girdling the stem or trunk.
Wood – Desirable for smokehouse kindling and firewood.
Food – Fruit used fresh or processed.
Medicinal – Used as an antibiotic and for indigestion,
dysentery and diarrhea.
Used for ornamental landscaping, specimen, shade tree,
boulevards and screens.
Malus x ‘Centurion’ – Rose-pink flowers.
M. x ‘David’ – White flowers, red fruits.
M. x ‘Hopa’ – South Dakota introduction. Old pinkflowered,
apple scab susceptible cultivar.
M. x ‘Kelsey’, ‘Selkirk’, ‘Thunderchild’ – Canadian
cultivars with rose-pink flowers. ‘Thunderchild’ has
purple leaves and is disease resistant.
M. x ‘Radiant’, ‘Red Splendor’ ‘Vanguard’ – Minnesota
cultivars. All have pink to rose-pink flowers.
M. x ‘Spring Snow’ – White flowers, no fruits, sterile.
Common Apple (Malus pumila)
Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata)
Disease pests include fireblight, apple scab, frogeye leaf
spot (black rot). Insect pests include cankerworms, fall
webworm and apple maggot. Cultivars have variable
resistance to many of these pests. Extracts of fruit have
been used as an attractant to trap insect pests.