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(September 2015)


I have two varieties of crab apple in my backyard. One of the trees is quite healthy but the other has had virtually of all of its leaves half chewed away. There no other visible signs of insects or borers. Will this affect the future growth? Is there anything that I should be looking for specifically?


Crabapples can be attacked by a number of diseases and insects, and some varieties are more resistant than others.  If the feeding damage occurred recently, don’t be concerned, since we are nearing the end of the growing season anyway.  If you have heavy damage early in the season and it occurs each year, that could weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to other problems.  Rake up the leaves this fall and start clean next spring.  You could also spray the tree with a dormant oil this fall after all the leaves fall off, if this is a common occurrence.  Dormant oil smothers out anything that is overwintering on the tree if you get thorough coverage, which will help again with a clean start next year.



( April 2010)

QuestionHow old does a flowering crab tree have to be before it blooms? Also, is this the same as a crab apple tree?

AnswerFlowering crab apples can be included with other fruit trees. Blooming may occur as quickly as three years of age or it may take eight. How fast they are growing, whether or not it is a dwarf or standard variety and how much sunlight the tree gets can all be factors. All crabapples flower and set fruit—it is whether you use the fruit or not whether you consider it a fruit tree or an ornamental.


(June 2010)

QuestionWe planted a flowering crab in our back yard here in Springdale, about 5-6 years ago. The Jan 2009 ice storm broke one of the large branches off, but the tree bloomed and seemed to be fine except when looking at it from a certain angle. This year has been a different story. The tree never bloomed and when it leafed out, the leaves are real small, about one fourth the size of the leaves in the past. What do you think is wrong? The tree has leafed out everywhere but just looks plain old BLAH. I would hope that it is not on its deathbed.

AnswerIt doesn't sound good. Check the main trunk for signs of borers. Once a tree is damaged, that is often a calling card for boring insects to attack and finish it off. Obviously it is not getting enough energy up to the top of the tree to form flower buds and full sized leaves. You can try fertilizing and watering this season, but often once major decline starts on a tree there is little you can do to reverse it. Good luck.

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