Crab apple trees
Crab apples are versatile, compact spring-flowering garden trees with lots to offer. Consider them as an alternative to flowering cherries for injecting colour and interest into the garden all year round, particularly on heavy clay soils where they will thrive. In spring, crab apples produce uplifting pink, white or deep red, star-shaped flowers. Attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects, the flowers are produced even on young trees, making crab apples a strong choice as a tree that performs quickly and reliably. The flowers are followed by abundant crops of deep red, purple or golden yellow crab apples in the autumn, which make delicious jellies and wine. An added bonus of crab apples is that they’re self-fertile. What’s more they have a long flowering season and produce around ten times are much pollen as culinary apple varieties – so one crab apple tree will do the job of pollinating all of your culinary apples regardless of pollination group and maybe your neighbours as well! Enrich the soil with peat or well-rotted peat or compost before planting and stake firmly. Malus ‘John Downie’ is a favourite variety with white flowers and large, conical, orange-scarlet fruits. Alternatively, consider Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ – a small tree with white flowers following by bright yellow fruits.