How to Trim Crab Apple Trees


The crabapple tree is a spring flowering member of the Malus species of plants. Crabapple trees come in many varieties, most producing a delicate, red fruit. The tree grows to a height of around 10 to 25 feet, mostly growing in a shrubby pattern. Crabapple trees grow at a slow rate, producing only eight to 10 inches per year. Eventually, the tree will need to be pruned and old or dead branches removed to prevent disease.

Step 1

Locate any branches that are dead, broken or exhibit signs of disease, and remove them from the tree with a set of sharp pruning shears. Cut the branch as close to the trunk as possible to prevent rotting and disease. Wear gloves and safety glasses while cutting branches to protect the hands and eyes.

Step 2

Remove suckers that spring up from the base of the tree trunk. These are small saplings, green in color, that looks like a branch. Leaves will appear on it over time, which may look different from the rest of the tree. Suckers steal resources from the rest of the plant.

Step 3

Cut branches away that cross each other or grow straight toward the dirt to improve light coverage inside the tree and to prevent disease from moisture buildup between branches.

Step 4

Remove branches from the canopy that are blocking light from the inside of the tree. Cut away thinner branches that are not producing fruit or flowers, and make sure to remove a branch on the opposite side of the tree to keep it balanced.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Ladder
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety glasses


  • PBS: This Old House - How to Prune A Crab Apple Tree
  • Gardenline: How to Trim and Old Crab Apple Tree
  • Clemson University Extension: Crabapple
Keywords: crabapple tree, trim crabapple tree, pruning crabapple tree

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.