American Crabapple, also known as Wild Crabapple or Sweet Crabapple, is present throughout all of Ohio, and predominates as a spreading tree native to the upper two-thirds of the Eastern United States, especially the Midwestern States. It is known for its very fragrant, white to white-pink blossoms that are the last among the Crabapples to bloom. Its fruits are very bitter (Sweet Crabapple refers to the scent of both the flowers and fruits, not the taste of the fruits) and greenish-yellow when mature, but make excellent jelly or jam due to their high pectin and high acid content (enough added sugar makes anything taste good). It is also used as a rootstock on which to graft some cultivated forms of apple, giving the grafted tree cold hardiness and adaptability to local soils. American Crabapple reaches 25 feet tall by 35 feet wide as an individual specimen under optimum conditions, but forms colonies of indeterminate width with time. As a member of the Rose Family, it is related to the Serviceberries, Chokeberries, Hawthorns, Plums, Cherries, Pears, and Roses, as well as other Crabapple and Apple species and hybrids.
Planting Requirements- American Crabapple, like many members of the Rose Family, is very adaptable to a wide variety of environmental conditions, including soils that are rich, average, poor, or rocky, and of acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH. This species likes moist, well-drained soils, tolerates drier soils, and is most commonly found in fields, along fencerows, and at the edges of woodlands, where it forms colonies and usually thrives on neglect in full sun. American Crabapple is found in zones 4 to 7.
Potential Problems- American Crabapple, like all members of the Rose Family, is prone to a host of diseases and pests, which primarily affect the foliage and fruits. Rust is particularly troublesome to the leaves of American Crabapple, causing many of them to drop, especially when they are found near Junipers (the alternate host) and during wet springs, which promote the spread and development of the disease.