Crabapple (Malus sylvestris)

tree full of red fruit

Apples and apple trees grow in the landscape without being tended. Some were planted individually or as part of a garden and then abandoned, and others have grown from seeds deposited in bird and mammal droppings.

Wild apple trees normally settle in clearings or on the edges of fields. As the forests grow, the apple trees fill with shrubs that are shaded by the overhanging tree branches. 


apple tree branches with white flowers

Apple trees that are crowded and shaded for a long time usually do not bear fruit. The lifespan, vigor and performance of crabapp can be improved with a few simple techniques in common use.

This tree can be two to five meters high, although it manages to reach up to 12 meters. Its crown is rounded with thick branches, rough to the touch and angular in shape, whose deciduous leaves are oval, with slightly serrated edges.

The flowers have an inferior compound ovary, contrary to the majority of rosaceae, which have super-ovaries. They grow in groups and have five delicate pink and white petals. In its center, the stigma and several stamens stand out and depending on the tree the fruit usually has different colors with two or more seeds inside.

The apple tree tolerates moderate winds, but not heat though grows well in the sun. It also adapts to various temperatures (cold and temperate climates).

It needs deep soils with a neutral pH between six and seven, and good drainage, especially clay or sandy ones. Matures at different times of the year between 100 and 200 days and always blooms in late spring.

Bees or other insects pollinate their flowers, in fact, farmers place hives on trees to facilitate reproduction and they prefer cross-fertilization so that the fruits develop better and good harvests are obtained. The crabapple grows from seed, while the one commonly grown by grafting and its fruits appear within the first five years.


The fruit is eaten fresh without peeling or in salads, jams, cakes, sauces, cider, wine and juices; as sweet, in cake or desserts. It is beneficial for human health because contains folic acid, calcium, polyphenols, potassium, vitamins A, B and C, besides being rich in fiber, allowing to regulate the digestive function, repair the intestinal flora, avoid constipation and diarrhea.

Pectin, on the other hand, helps lower cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood and is highly antioxidant, since prevents some types of cancerIn addition, and due to the presence of the Phloterin compound in its fruits, antibacterial properties are attributed to it.

It is used as a remedy for pain caused by rheumatism; also to cleanse the liver and gallbladder. Caution must be exercised with the seeds which are slightly toxic and can cause allergies or health damage if consumed in excess.

Crab apple cultivation

landscape with trees full of flowers

The cultivation of the crabapple, despite not being threatened, can be damaged by pests or diseases even before it matures.

Apple trees like most fruit trees and shrubs are best grown in full sun. Annual pruning is another way to ensure consistent fruit set and tree health. The apples on crabapples may be smaller than the fruits on trees used for human use.


Its flowers or leaves are usually affected by the apple scab fungus and the fruits by the rot fungus. Scab causes dark spots on leaves and fruits, but applying these fungicide treatments with horsetail or milk turns out to be very effective.

Chancre injures the trunk and branches. Also the aphids use the foliage and when plaguing the tree this slows its growth. Other harmful organisms include the European red mite, spider mite, mealybug, bronze beetle, weevil, capsid bug, caterpillars, and moth.

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