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2003 Annual and Perennial Trial Results

December 2007
Plant of the Month

Flowering Crabapple
by John Daniels, Bachman's, Inc.

The ever popular group of ornamental trees known as Flowering Crabapples (Malus spp.) have taken a wild ride of change over the years. Variety selection has grown many times, giving us many choices in flower color, size, shape, fragrance, fruit, fall foliage, and even bark color. Another characteristic, not as visual, but certainly important, is resistance to the most serious pest of crabapples apple scab. Apple scab is a fungal leaf infection that strikes most severely in years of high spring humidity and rain. The result of a serious infection is ultimately defoliation of the tree by mid-summer.

The popularity of flowering crabapples in the trade has been through cyclical ups and downs over the years. It seems that we may be in a bit of a slump currently perhaps in part to recent wet springs that have taken their toll in terms of apple scab infection. Fortunately, we continue to see improvements in breeding and selection that are giving us some wonderful varieties that offer substantial disease resistance. Crabs will not go away and will, in fact, continue to be an important part of our landscapes thanks in part to these disease resistant varieties.

A relatively new group of flowering crabapples is, and will continue to be very important to the continued popularity and growth in popularity and use of crabapples these are the Dwarf Crabapples. In recent years many new varieties (and some not so new) have come into the trade that offer many of the same great traits that the traditional varieties offer, but with a smaller size that fits a growing need for tree varieties suitable for small spaces. While the more traditional varieties may range in size from 15 30 feet tall and perhaps equally as wide at maturity, these dwarf varieties may be one-third or less that size and they come in many shapes and flower colors as well.

A wonderful group of genetically dwarf, disease resistant crabapples has been introduced by Lake County Nursery. Detailed descriptions and photos of the Round Table Series of genetically dwarf flowering crabapples are available at lakecountynursery.com. In addition to the Lake County Nursery introductions, there are several other wonderful small or dwarf varieties also available to our trade.

This wonderful selection of small (dwarf) flowering crabapple offers a unique and exciting solution to many of our small space challenges. The variety of shapes, sizes, flower colors, coupled with excellent disease resistance makes these a great option for the spaces. Availability, as is typical with the more unique varieties of landscape plant materials, may be limited. You are advised to work with your nursery stock supplier in advance whenever possible.








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