Should You Plant a Crabapple Tree Near an Apple Tree?

planting a crabapple tree

Fruit trees are a fantastic choice for your property, and a crabapple tree can be a perfect addition to any garden or yard. While you may have never tasted a crabapple, they are surprisingly tasty and great for cooking. Moreover, these trees can provide a vibrant splash of color to your landscaping, making them ideal as accent trees. Knowing where to plant them is crucial. Let’s find out whether you should plant a crabapple tree near an apple tree.

Reasons To Plant a Crabapple Tree

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There are numerous benefits to planting a fruit tree in your yard, and a crabapple tree offers many advantages for both you and local wildlife. Besides their beauty, these trees are versatile assets to your property’s landscaping.

When considering fruit trees for your backyard garden, most people think of peaches, apples, or blueberries. However, crabapples are less common. Let’s explore a few reasons why you should consider planting a crabapple tree.

They Attract Pollinators

During the springtime, crabapple trees bloom and attract essential pollinators that keep the ecosystem running. By providing a convenient source of nectar, crabapple trees play a role in saving bees. Additionally, attracting pollinators to your garden can boost the production of other fruit and vegetable crops.

They’re Absolutely Stunning

The stunning beauty of crabapple trees is perhaps the most enticing reason to plant them. These trees produce pink and white blossoms with an incredible fragrance in the spring. During the summer, they change to bright green foliage adorned with beautiful fruit. In the fall, crabapple trees undergo yet another transformation, displaying vibrant red, yellow, and orange foliage that creates astonishing scenery.

They Produce Plenty of Fruit

It may take 3-5 years for your crabapple tree to mature, but once it does, it produces a bountiful crop every year. These fruits often hang in clusters on the tree’s branches, giving the tree more of a resemblance to a berry tree than a traditional apple tree. With an abundance of fruit, you can leave the extras on the tree to feed wildlife such as birds, squirrels, and deer.

They’re Low-Maintenance

While traditional apple trees are relatively low-maintenance, crabapple trees require even less care. Surprisingly, these trees thrive with minimal watering during droughts and occasional pruning of dead sections. They are highly resistant to pests and diseases, making them perfect for beginner gardeners with limited experience.

Planting a Crabapple Tree Near an Apple Tree

Although apple trees and crabapple trees may seem different, they are actually part of the same family. This makes them perfect companions for your property. Both trees produce edible fruit, and they require each other for pollination. Since they are not botanically different, crabapple trees can pollinate apple trees and vice versa.

Interestingly, the pollen from a crabapple tree does not impact the quality of the apple tree’s fruit. While the seeds inside the fruit may have mixed genes, the apple tree will continue to produce uniform fruit. To ensure proper bee pollination, the crabapple and apple trees should be within 100 feet of each other.

Recommended Spacing for Planting

If you already have existing plants and trees in your yard or plan to plant more soon, it’s essential to consider the recommended spacing requirements for your crabapple tree. Although they do not grow very big, giving them enough space to thrive is crucial. Here’s how to choose the best spot for your new tree.


Crabapple trees can grow up to 25 feet tall, which is relatively small compared to other trees. This makes them safe to plant under powerlines as long as they are adequately pruned. Keep in mind that these trees are vulnerable until maturity and have a slower or moderate growth rate.

Root System

Fortunately, crabapple trees do not have invasive root systems. However, you should still consider your home foundation, sidewalks, and other permanent fixtures when planting. Avoid planting near plants or trees that require excessive watering or fertilizer, as this can reach the crabapple root system and cause issues.

Canopy Spread

The canopy spread of a crabapple tree is similar to its height. Again, make sure to plant it far enough away from permanent fixtures to prevent damage. Additionally, provide enough space between the crabapple tree and other plants or trees to allow for full sun exposure and proper air circulation after rainfall, preventing diseases.

Other Considerations

Depending on the shape and size of your yard, you can use your crabapple tree to provide adequate shade in the right spot. However, avoid placing it too close to outdoor social areas, as falling fruit may damage furniture or injure someone. Also, avoid planting near the road, as the foliage can obstruct the view and create safety hazards.

When Are Crabapples Ripe?

Crabapples are typically ripe in late summer or early fall, and like traditional apples, they change color when ripe. Varieties can range from bright red to yellow. While it’s best to pick them when ripe, keep in mind that they can stay on the tree for a month or more. Leaving them on the tree will attract various animals, providing them with a food source until the fruit spoils.

Now that you know whether it’s suitable to plant a crabapple tree near an apple tree, you can make an informed decision when it comes to fruit trees in your yard. If you need a pollinator for your traditional apple tree, consider browsing flowering crabapple trees for sale. Although they may not produce as much fruit, they offer a beautiful and useful addition to your property.

For more gardening tips and advice, visit Tips Tree Planting. Happy gardening!

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