Crabapple trees are beautiful not only for their gorgeous blossoms but also their fruit. The crabapple tree is an excellent pollinator for apple trees if you are not fond of using the crabapples for fruit. The crabapple is high in pectin and is used as a pectin source in many fruit jams and jellies, adding a nice tart flavour. Disease runs rampant in crabapple trees and the must be kept well-pruned or you will find your tree to be an eyesore in your yard.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Cut out all dead wood or diseased wood. Take the time to go over the tree thoroughly and make your cuts with a sharp pruning saw or shears.
Remember that the flowers are borne on last years' wood, so any pruning will affect the next bloom and fruiting. In the early spring, remove all the suckers that are growing straight up from the main branches.
Remove any branches that are crossing over another branch. They will block the light from the other branch and the movement of the tree could cause the branches to scrape together.
If the bowl of the tree has become too thick, remove a few key branches to allow air and light to enter. Make sure to make clean cuts and not pull the bark down.
Finally prune any sprouts that start growing from the base of the tree. The sprouts will only interfere with the other branches as they get larger and collect leaves against the base of the tree.
Tips and warnings
- Use molasses traps to control coddling moths in the spring.
- Keep June Beetles away by handpicking or traps as they can cause severe damage.