Crabapples are edible flowering and fruiting trees that are grown for their attractive appearance and lovely delicious, and healthy fruits. It is easy to grow crabapples and you can start them from seeds or seedlings. Both seeds and seedlings are widely available. If you want to grow crabapples successfully, you should follow the below instructions.
Prepare the seeds
If you want to start crabapples from seeds, you should prepare them for sowing before your plant them. Here are the steps for preparing the seeds:
- Immerse them in compost: Take a compost bin or a normal container and place your seeds in it then add three handfuls of peat-free compost. Make sure to mix the seeds with the compost well.
- Water carefully the mixture: Once the seeds and the compost are well mixed, add some water to them to make the mixture moist. Don’t add too much water.
- Warp the mixture in plastic: It is recommended that you use a plastic bag. A well sealed plastic bag will keep the mixture moist.
- Store the bag in the refrigerator: Once the bag is well sealed, keep it in the fridge for at least 3 months. After 3 months, the seed will sprout. Once you see the sprouts you can take them out to sow them. It should be mentioned that you shouldn’t put the seeds in the freezer, they will never sprout.
2. Sowing the seeds
First of all, you should choose a good spot for your seeds. Crabapple seeds require a sunny spot and a well-drained soil to germinate. You should avoid shady spots because these trees require direct access to sunlight. It is recommended that you check out how drained your soil is before sowing the seeds.
All you need to do is to dig a hole of12- to 18-inches (30- to 46-cm) deep and wide and to fill it with water. If the water drains in 10 minutes or less, your soil is well drained. Otherwise, try another spot for your seeds.
Second, sprinkle the seeds all over the spot you have chosen for them. Before sprinkling them, you should rake the area to create furrows. Once the seeds are in the furrows, immerse the seeds into the soil. You can either use your hands, a seed roller, or board. Make sure they are at least one inch deep into the soil.
Finally, you should add a layer of grit to cover the seeds. The grit layer should be around ⅕- to ⅖-inch (5- to 10-mm). Grit will improve the quality of your soil by enhancing its drainage. They can be found in local nursery stores. After covering the seeds with grit, water thoroughly to help them settle down in the soil.
3. Planting a seedling or a young tree
To grow crabapples from seedling, you should first choose a good planting site. Young crabapple trees need at least 6 hours of sunlight exposure daily. Therefore, choose a sunny location that receives a plenty of sunlight. The location should also be on a well-drained soil.
Once you have chosen a planting site, dig a hole for your tree. The hole should be a bit deeper than the root ball of your plant but as two to three times as wide. However, before digging the hole, clean up the site from any weeds, debris, and rocks. When you are digging, break the soil so the roots can penetrate it easily.
Now that the hole is ready, place your tree in it. Before you fill the hole with the soil you should make some amendments such as adding compost to the soil. When the hole is half full of soil, water the soil to help it settle down. Once the water drains out, cover the hole completely with soil.
To grow crabapples successfully, you should fertilize them. They are not heavy feeders so fertilizing them with mulch and compost is enough. In spring, add a layer of compost and two layers of mulch to your plant to provide it with nutrients.
You should water your plant carefully. The need regular watering only temperature degrees are high. If the weather is not warm, there is no need to water crabapple daily. In its first year, you should water once a week. Don’t water crabapple too much as it causes mildew.
It should be noted that crabapple does not like frequent watering unless it is warm. In temperate areas, don’t water more than once a week.
Pruning is essential for crabapples to promote growth and enhance productivity. Therefore, you should make sure that you remove dead, broken, or diseased branches in late winter. If your plant develops thick branches, you should use a saw to remove them.
7. Protecting your plant in winter
Your plant may need protection in winter. The best way to protect your plants is by adding support and wrapping young trees. You can use a stake or a trellis for support. However, for young trees, you should wrap them in tree wraps. Tree wraps are available at nursery stores.
This is how to grow crabapples. Follow these steps and you will enjoy healthy, productive and most of all ornamental crabapple plants.