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Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Details:

The wild Crab Apple tree, Malus sylvestris, is a small tree of woods and hedges throughout Britain. It's oddly relatively scarce; mostly you will now find cultivated varieties of crab apples or "wilding" apple trees. The crab's extended flowering period, with very pretty blossom, is helpful for bees as much as it is for cross pollinating other apple trees, and its fruit, with its high pectin levels, makes delicious jelly for us and good winter eating for the birds. See below for more details.


For orders of 500 units or more, please contact us for pricing.
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Minimum total order £50

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This item has seasonality November-March and will only be shipped during this time.

Growth

After 10 yrs

3m (height) x 1m (width)

At Maturity

10m (height) x 4m (width)

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)

The wild Crab Apple, Malus sylvestris, is a small tree of woods and hedges throughout Britain. It occurs singly, curiously, and is found naturally across Europe in scrub or on woodland edge, where it can find the light without too much competition. The native crab is relatively scarce; mostly you will now find cultivated varieties  of crab apples (many of which we sell) or "wilding" trees, growing from discarded apple cores. Malus sylvestris was widely planted as a hedge plant in the enclosure periods, but these trees have long since died - they only last up to 100 years. Where you do now see them in hedges they're usually standard trees. They could be planted a lot more as hedge plants; they're hardy, attractive and stockproof. Crab apples need fertile soil and sun as they can be prone to pests and diseases. 


Value For Wildlife

The crab's extended flowering period, with its very pretty blossom, is helpful for bees in particular. Over the winter many birds and mammals eat its apples. Malus sylvestris leaves and fruit are eaten by a wide range of animals, including a terrifying sounding moth, the apple leaf skeletoniser.


Uses

Crab apples are used in orchards to cross pollinate other apple trees. Their fruit, with its high pectin levels, makes delicious jelly, and the wood has an attractive pinkish hue when carved. Good firewood too, which used to be burned by the Celts during fertility festivals.


Plants For Sale

Provenance certificates are available on request for Crab Apples, which are from the Southwest of England.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
50% of our profit on sales of Crab Apple trees is donated to The Tree Council

See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting Crab Apples.

All our Crab Apple trees are bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching (longer for standards), due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders placed for Crab Apple trees between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.