How to Prune a Prairiefire Crabapple Tree


The Prairiefire crabapple (Malus sp. 'Prairiefire') is one of over 700 varieties of crabapple. Prairiefire grows in a rounded form to 20 feet in height with an equal spread. It blooms in deep pink flowers with foliage that starts out purple and ends up in fiery shades of orange, red and purple in the fall. The crabapples that follow the foliage show last into the winter and provide food for wildlife. The Prairiefire crabapple tree requires little trimming, and pruning should be performed before June.

Step 1

Remove water sprouts and suckers. These are thin, fast-growing shoots. Water sprouts grow from branches; suckers grow from the soil at the base of the tree and sometimes from the lower trunk. If the shoots are small you may be able to use your hands to snap them off. Otherwise, use pruning shears and cut them completely off.

Step 2

Cut away all dead, damaged and diseased wood. Look for branches that are crossing over others and prune those off. When pruning, cut the branches back to their points of origin. Use lopping shears or a hand saw to cut thick branches.

Step 3

Remove all pruning detritus from the area and water the tree at the rate you normally provide, immediately after pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pole pruners
  • Lopping shears or hand saw


  • Washington State University: Clark County Extension: Prairiefire Crabapple
  • Landscape-America: Flowering Crabapple
  • University of Florida: Malus x 'Prariefire' Prariefire Crabapple

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: prune prairiefire crabtree, prune flowering crabapple, prune prairiefire crabapple

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.