The Q&A Archives: Confused Crabapple tree!

Question: Our crabapple tree blooms beautifully in the spring, bears leaves then immediately begins to drop them. Then in September it will get several blooms on it again before the few remaining leaves hit the ground.
There are not enough leaves to even bother to rake. What is wrong with this tree?

Answer: Although some varieties of crabapples routinely put on a second flower show in the fall, most bloom only in the spring. You may have a type which normally reblooms. The sparse foliage indicates the tree is under stress - and the second flush of blooms on a normally once-blooming crabapple may also be a symptom of that stress. Crabapples are susceptible to several leaf diseases, as well. So, without seeing the tree and being able to inspect the leaves, it's difficult for me to diagnose the problem. Start by making sure your tree gets adequate water during the growing season, that it gets lots of sunshine and that you feed it every spring with an 8-8-8 fertilizer. When it leafs out, inspect the leaves for signs of insect or disease problems. You might even want to take a few of the leaves in to your local cooperative extension office for microscopic inspection. Helpful folks there can confirm or eliminate the possibility of diseases for you.

Best wishes with your crabapple!

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