Crabapple Fruit Production: Best Producers & Fruitless Types

The presence of crabapple trees is highly valued by many people due to their stunning spring blossoms and abundant fruits in their surroundings.

These trees are as diverse as they are beautiful, with some varieties producing an abundance of fruit and others remaining fruitless.

Whether you’re interested in a crabapple tree for its ornamental value, fruit production, or wildlife benefits, there’s a variety to suit your needs.

Do all crabapple trees produce fruit? Not all crabapple trees produce fruit. While many varieties are known for their prolific fruit production, there are also fruitless or nearly fruitless varieties available. These fruitless types are often chosen for their ornamental value and for their reduced maintenance needs.

Ready to learn more? Below, we’ll explain all the ins and outs of crabapple fruit production, including the most popular varieties for fruit and trees that tend to produce few, if any, fruits.

Key Takeaways

  • Some crabapple varieties are known for their prolific fruit production and others are fruitless or nearly fruitless.
  • Factors such as the tree’s age, the availability of pollinators, the tree’s health, and environmental conditions can influence the fruit production of a crabapple tree.
  • Fruitless or nearly fruitless crabapple varieties, such as the ‘Spring Snow’, ‘Prairie Rose’, and ‘Marilee’, offer all the ornamental appeal of crabapples without the need for fruit cleanup.
  • While crabapple fruits are often tart and not typically enjoyed fresh, they can be used in cooking and baking.

Discover the answers to frequently asked questions about crabapple trees in my article, Commonly Asked Questions About Crabapple Trees to gain a deeper understanding of these beautiful trees.

Understanding Crabapple Trees

Crabapple trees are a diverse group with hundreds of varieties that vary in size, flower color, fruit production, and more.

Understanding these trees and their fruit production requires a look at their key characteristics, the reasons they produce fruit, and the factors that influence this production.

Crabapple Tree Characteristics

Crabapple trees are small to medium-sized deciduous trees known for their showy spring flowers that range in color from white to pink to red.

Many varieties also produce fruit, which are small apples typically less than 2 inches in diameter.

These fruits can be red, orange, yellow, or even purple, and they provide a food source for wildlife and visual interest for humans.

Why Crabapples Produce Fruit

Crabapple trees produce fruit as a means of reproduction.

The flowers of the crabapple tree are pollinated by bees and other insects, and once pollination occurs, the flower begins to develop into a fruit.

This fruit contains seeds, which can potentially grow into new crabapple trees.

Factors That Influence Crabapple Fruit Production

Several factors can influence the fruit production of a crabapple tree. These include:

  • The tree’s age (young trees may not produce fruit)
  • The availability of pollinators
  • The tree’s health
  • Environmental conditions such as light, temperature, and water availability

Additionally, the specific variety of crabapple tree can play a significant role, with some varieties naturally producing more fruit than others.

A handful of ripe crabapples hanging on a tree.

Fruit-Bearing Varieties of Crabapple Trees

While all crabapple trees have the potential to bear fruit, some varieties are particularly known for their prolific fruit production.

These trees can provide a stunning display of color in the landscape as well as a valuable food source for wildlife.

Crabapple Fruit Colors, Sizes, and Flavors

Crabapple fruits are diverse in their colors, sizes, and flavors. They can range in color from bright red to golden yellow or deep purple and in size from as small as a pea to as large as a golf ball.

The flavor of crabapple fruit is typically tart, making them less desirable for fresh eating but excellent for uses like jellies and cider.

Varieties Known for Prolific Fruit Production

Some crabapple varieties are known for their abundant fruit production.

For example, the ‘Dolgo’ crabapple is a popular choice for its large, edible fruits and its resistance to many common apple diseases.

The ‘Profusion’ crabapple is another prolific fruit producer known for its deep red fruits that persist into winter.

Varieties Known for Ornamental Fruit Displays

Other crabapple varieties may not produce as much fruit or fruit that is ideal for making jellies, but they are prized for the ornamental value of the fruit they do produce.

The ‘Red Jewel’ crabapple, for instance, produces bright-red fruits that contrast beautifully with its white flowers and green foliage.

The ‘Golden Hornet’ crabapple is known for its yellow fruits, which provide a striking display against the fall foliage.

Fruitless Crabapple Trees

For those who love the beauty of crabapple trees but prefer not to deal with the mess of fallen fruit, there are fruitless or nearly fruitless varieties available.

These trees offer all the ornamental appeal of crabapples without the need for fruit cleanup.

  • Spring Snow Crabapple: This tree offers a spectacular display of white spring flowers, but it does not produce fruit, making it a great choice for locations where fallen fruit would be a problem.
  • Prairie Rose Crabapple: This variety is known for its rose-pink flowers and its attractive, lobed leaves, but it does not produce fruit.
  • Marilee Crabapple: This tree produces very few fruits, and those it does produce are small and inconspicuous. This tree is prized for its abundant, fragrant white flowers.

Benefits of Crabapple Trees Beyond Fruit

While crabapple trees are often recognized for their fruit production, they offer numerous other benefits as well.

Their spring blooms provide a spectacular display of color and often a delightful fragrance.

The dense, spreading canopy of many crabapple varieties offers shade and shelter for wildlife, and the trees themselves can serve as a natural privacy screen.

Even in winter, crabapple trees can provide visual interest with their intricate branch patterns and, in fruiting varieties, the persistent fruits that hang on the branches.

Related Questions:

Are Ornamental Crabapples Edible?

Yes, the fruits of ornamental crabapple trees are typically edible. However, they are often small and tart, making them less suitable for fresh eating.

They can be used in cooking and baking, where their tart flavor can be a great asset.

Can You Eat Crabapples Right Off the Tree?

While you can eat crabapples right off the tree, they are often quite tart and may not be enjoyable to eat fresh.

However, they can be used to make jellies, sauces, and other dishes where their tart flavor can be balanced with other ingredients.

Closing Thoughts

Crabapple trees are a diverse and versatile group of trees that offer a range of benefits from their stunning spring blooms to their colorful fruits.

Whether you’re looking for a tree that produces an abundance of fruit, a tree that offers ornamental value without the mess of fallen fruit, or something in between, there’s a crabapple variety to suit your needs.

With their high ornamental value and their benefits for wildlife, crabapple trees are a fantastic option for many people.

Don’t stop now! We’ve got more answers to common questions about Crabapple trees.