How to Take Care of Crabapple Trees


The crabapple tree is a showy, deciduous fruit tree that can reach heights up to 25 feet. This vase-shaped tree develops simple, elliptical foliage that grows green in the summer and yellows in the fall. Its showy red, white and pink flowers have a fragrant scent and attractive visual impact.

Step 1

Plant the crabapple tree in a well-drained, slightly acidic location that receives at least eight to ten hours of full sunlight each day. Choose a location that places the tree at least 12 feet from surrounding trees to prevent competition.

Step 2

Irrigate the young crabapple tree weekly, providing 1 to 2 inches of water. Increase the irrigation levels during drought periods and as the tree increases in size. Use a slow irrigation process, and irrigate the tree in the early morning to allow for nutrient process and usage before nightfall.

Step 3

Prune the crabapple tree to remove troubled areas. Remove dead, dying and damaged areas, as well as water sprouts and suckers. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears and complete the cut in an angular motion to promote rapid healing.

Step 4

Feed the crabapple tree with a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 combination. Apply the fertilizer monthly during the growing season. Distribute the feed evenly around the tree while keeping the feed at least a foot from the base of the tree.

Step 5

Protect the tree from weed invasions. Pull any developing weeds from the area as they appear. Remove the entire root system from below the surface to prevent regrowth of the weed.

Step 6

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree to protect the soil's moisture levels and reduce the potential for weed invasions. Use an organic mulch and reapply throughout the season to maintain an adequate layer.

Step 7

Inspect the tree regularly for signs of sickness. Look for disease symptoms such as leaf spotting, wilting, dieback, cankers, lesions, mildew and growth stunt. Treat any diseases immediately using the appropriate fungicidal or bactericide treatment. Speak with a nursery specialist for disease identification and treatment.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • US Department of Agriculture: Crabapple
  • NDSU: Flowering Crabapple
  • Clemson University Extension: Crabapple
  • Tree Help: Crabapple Trees
Keywords: crabapple care, caring for crabapple, feeding the crabapple

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.