March 22, 2011

Pink and White Crabapples in Bloom

Here are some pictures of my 'Spring Snow' and 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees. Of course they are from last year, since we're still about 2 months too early for crabapple blooms this season. But I never got around to posting them last year.

'Spring Snow' is supposedly the only fruitless crabapple tree. Its dimensions are estimated at 20' x 20', but it grows in a columnar form - so maybe a bit narrower than the estimate? I had a hard time picking between this tree and one of the flowering pears, but ended up with a Spring Snow since it stays smaller and smells much better in bloom than a pear. I also like how the flowers come out with the leaves to enhance them, while pears flower before the leaves emerge. But pears have glossy leaves and better fall color . . . there just isn't a perfect tree, is there?

Here is what I thought was a 'Prairie Fire' crab, but I now think it's a 'Royal Raindrops' - see this link for more info about RR, plus pictures. Aren't the flowers a pretty color? The leaves are dark maroon and are shaped like hawthorne tree leaves with pretty cut edges.

I have three of these baby trees in the back (plus six of the Spring Snows). Their dimensions are estimated at 20' tall by 15' wide. They're supposed to get berry-like red fruit and orange-red leaves in the fall, though none of them did last year. I'm excited to see the fall color and fruit when the trees mature more.

I keep meaning to prune off some branches and try to force them into bloom in a vase, but haven't done it yet. How early can you cut crab branches for forcing? I'm sure the answer is on the internet somewhere and I just need to look it up.

One of the 'Royal Raindrops' trees looks like a cat scratched up the trunk. I'm worried that the deepest wound (shown above) will continue to pull apart and disfigure the trunk as it grows. The wound is on the north side of the trunk, so it's protected from winter sunscald. Should I replace it now, while it's small and easier to match to the size of the other two trees, or wait and see what the trunk does? What do you think, fellow gardeners?


  1. I think you're right that those are not Prairie Fire crabs. Mine have a much deeper magenta flower. Also, they are all very "bendy" (i.e. the center branch flops over instead of growing upright, so if your trees are straight ... LOL

    Also, I thought of you this week as I mourned the winter passing of my Nile Lilies, which I love and get tired of buying every year.

  2. Hope your crab heals over those wounds. What a pity. I love that dark pink of Royal Rainbow, very pretty.

  3. If it were me, I think I'd wait and see, VW. It looks like it might be healing over correctly on the bottom portion. My fingers are crossed.

  4. Bad old puddy cat. ;-)
    What a beautiful sight to see all of those new spring blooms.Just perks me right up anyway. The Crab blooms are just gorgeous. Wonderful shots.

  5. So beautiful pictures,thank you for sharing them with us.The colour of Royal Raindrops is wonderful.We have still plenty of snow but the weather's getting warmer slowly - much too slowly;).Our appletrees will probably bloom in june...Looking forward to that!

  6. Hi VW,

    Beautiful photos, I can well see why you would plant so many in your garden! I've had my eye on crab apple 'red sentinel' for a while but never quite taken the plunge into buying one!

    Blossoms are out there, Blackthorn, cherry etc. So very early, it's been a very strange Winter/Spring here so far.

  7. I love crabapples and think they are one of the very prettiest spring flowering trees. Yours are beautiful, and I love 'Spring Snow'.

  8. VW : ) Thank you for reminding me about the Austin catalog .. I have to go over to that site and DO that but only for reference material ... right ? LOL
    I love these flowering crabs .. we have gone through so many trees in the back garden it isn't funny but we have settled now and I am happy .. especially with "Flame" Amur maple .. and yes Autumn Brilliance is gorgeous in the Autumn with Flame and Pacific Sunset maple (a little big but we are having it trimmed up .. I can't imagine not having trees .. I love them so .. but now that we have run out of room I don't have one to designate for Earth Day .. but some new plant will be dedicated for that day ;-) .. and those are beautiful pictures ! I bet you can't wait to see what will happen this year with them .. keep the tree and just give it some TLC !!
    Joy : )
    No snow yesterday thank god ! haha

  9. Your trees look lovely, they will add so much beauty to the garden when they grow up. One of my pluot tree has a wound like that but bigger, it is still a really vigorous tree.

  10. I'd wait and see before replacing. Your 'Prairie Fire' looks almost -- I'd say almost exactly -- like the dwarf flowering peach (Prunus persica 'Bonfire') that Dave just wrote about in The Home Garden. Could yours have been mislabelled? Have a look:

  11. Belay that order! On closer inspection, your branches are more reddish, while Dave's tend toward grey. Well, not *your* branches or Dave's, but the trees'. They're both very pretty.

    Yes, put on that raincoat and cut yourself some stems for forcing!

  12. I am glad you did get around to posting these, they were worth the wait. I hope you get plenty of blooms this spring as well.
    I guess as long as the "scar" is healed and no little unwanted creatures get into will probably survive. You never know with trees!

  13. Is my first time seeing pictures of crab apples like yours, they are so good in Bach flowers, the best antibiotic!!!!


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