Southern Crabapple (Angustifolia)

The Southern Crabapple (Angustifolia) is generally described as a perennial tree or shrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: Fruits are eaten by whitetail deer, bobwhites, grouse, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, foxes and many small birds. Its fruit is occasionally used for jelly, preserves and cider.

Timber: Its hard, heavy wood makes excellent tool handle, levers, and small wooden ware articles.

Recreation and Beautification: Typically a weed tree but quite attractive in a native setting.

General Characteristics

Malus angustifolia Michx., Southern crab apple is commonly found from southern Virginia south to northern Florida, west to Louisiana, and north to Arkansas. Southern crabapple is a shrub or small tree, 20 to 30 feet in height, with a short trunk 8 to 10 inches in diameter; with rigid, spreading branches forming a broad, rounded, open crown. Leaves are elliptical or oblong, blunt at tip, wavy sawtoothed, hairy when young; dull green above, paler underneath. Bark is gray or brown; furrowed into narrow scaly ridges. Fruit ¾-1” in diameter, like small apples; yellow-green, sour with long stalk.

Required Growing Conditions

Southern crabapple grows best in well drained, moist and acid soils (pH 5.0 – 6.5) of valleys and lower slopes, stream banks, borders of woodlands, fence rows, and old fields in the southeast, often forming thickets.

Southern crab apple is distributed throughout the Southeast.

Cultivation and Care

Southern crabapple is mainly propagated by grafting using a whip graft, budding or from softwood cutting.

General Upkeep and Control

Southern crabapple should be planted in full sun to enhance development of flowers and fruit. It generally requires little pruning. Pruning is generally done to remove sucker growth, open up the center of the plant to light and air, to cut undesirable branches and shape the tree. If planted with redcedars (Juniperus virginiana, Juniperus scopulorum), keep a minimum distance of 500 ft to prevent spread of cedar apple rust.

Pests and Potential Problems Like most crabapples, Southern crabapple is susceptible to fireblight, cedar apple rust, apple scab, canker, scale, borers and aphids.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) Southern crabapple is rarely available in nurseries.

Plant Basics
General Type Tree, Shrub
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA