The Q&A Archives: Uses For A Crabapple Tree

Question: We have just recently bought a new home and there is a crabapple tree in the yard. My husband says it is beautiful in the spring, but I think it makes such a mess during the fall. What can I use the apples for or how much can I prune it back so the mess will be much smaller? Thanks!

Answer: Unfortunately, pruning is not a good method for controlling the fruit production. Although you can prune off the blooming wood and thus remove that season's fruit, the tree will resprout in a heavy and unsightly pattern in an effort to make sure it can make enough fruit next year. This eventually leads to a weakened tree that is also more susceptible to disease and insect problems.

To help with the clean up, you might try laying netting under the tree or use a groundcover planting beneath it so you do not have to worry about stepping in the fallen fruit. The fruit should be cleaned up however to help make sure no pests or diseases overwinter on them to reinfect the tree the following year.

The apples can be used for delicious and attractive crabapple jelly and may be used to make attractive seasonal decorations. Usually they are very tart.

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