How to Grow a Crab Apple Tree


Crab apple trees are known for their brilliant display of blooms in spring and summer. Trees produce clusters of pink or white flowers that envelop the entire tree for several months. There are over 500 known varieties of crab apple trees that grow from 6 to 50 feet tall. All trees produce edible or ornamental fruit that manages to stay on the tree throughout winter in some species. Many types develop attractive patterned bark as the trees grow. Crab apple trees are ideal for home gardens and lawns as they require little maintenance once established.

Step 1

Find the right location in your yard. Crab apple trees do best in areas with eight or more hours of sunlight a day and well-draining soil.

Step 2

Dig a hole. Use your shovel to dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide. If planting multiple trees, dig holes 10 to 20 feet apart.

Step 3

Plant your tree. Place the young crab apple tree in the center of the hole and cover the root ball with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Use your foot to firmly stamp on the soil around the base of the tree to eliminate air pockets.

Step 4

Water immediately after planting. Fully soak the base of the tree with an open hose and continue to water your crab apple tree every 2 to 3 days during the first few weeks after planting. Once established, crab apple trees need deep watering during periods of drought.

Step 5

Mix compost into the topsoil each spring, extending to the edge of the canopy. For poor soils, you may also mix compost into the hole before planting.

Step 6

Apply a layer of mulch at the base of the tree to retain soil moisture and control weeds. Spread the mulch all the way to the dripline of the tree, but keep a foot or so away from the trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Young crab apple tree


  • National Gardening Association: Plant Guide
  • Tree Help: Crab Apple Trees
Keywords: crab apple tree, grow trees, plant crab apples

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.