Crabapple trees have become quite a common choice for backyards. They flower beautifully in the spring and display their small, red fruits in the fall. Their small size also makes them easy to keep trimmed and well cared for. Crabapples are not too demanding when it comes to care. Most modern varieties are resistant to common fungal diseases, which means you don't need to spray them. However, there are a few guidelines you should follow to keep your tree in good shape.
Mulch around the tree
The smaller the tree, the more shallow its roots tend to be. Since crabapple trees are smaller than most shade trees, their roots don't tend to go as deep. This means crabapples are likely to feel the effects of a drought sooner than other, larger trees. You can help fend off this problem by mulching around the trees. The mulch will help keep the soil moist after the rain has been scarce. Use wood mulch over non-organic mulch, since wood mulch will slowly break down and add nutrients to the soil. A three or four-inch layer of mulch is adequate.
Keep the crown thinned out
Even though crabapple trees tend to be resistant to serious apple diseases like apple scab and cedar apple rust, they can contract more minor fungal diseases like anthracnose. An important way to guard against these diseases is to keep the crown of the tree well thinned out. Remove any crossed branches or branches that rub on each other. You want air to flow readily through the leaves and keep them dry, which will help protect against fungal illnesses.
Clean up crabapples promptly
When fall comes and the crabapples start falling off the tree, make sure you sweep them up promptly. Do this once or twice a week, at least. If you don't clean them up, crabapples can start harboring insects that may harm the tree or just annoy you. You can put the apples in your compost pile as long as it's a good distance from the crabapple tree itself. Otherwise, just dispose of them in the trash.
Don't damage the bark
It's never a good idea to damage the bark of any tree, but crabapples do tend to react very poorly to bark damage. So be really careful when trimming around the tree; you don't want to nick or scrape it with the weed trimmer.
Crabapple trees add lots of beauty to your backyard. Just make sure you're providing yours with proper care. Contact a residential tree care service near you to learn more.