1st Year Crab apples

Travis Aasen

Active Member
Hi forum friends -

My 21 crab apples have done ABSOLUTELY fantastic since they were planted end of April/1st of May. Far exceeded my expectations for first year crabs in less than ideal soil in Northern WI. End of July is littl over a week away and my food plots will be going in like many in WI. So, what do I need to do to these Crabs to prepare for winter? They are all currently caged with T posts.

1. Window screen, but should I prune them up right now?
2. mulch? I've been meaning to do that, but just haven't gotten around to it and it seems not always recommended?
3. any other tips as we approach fall/winter

Thanks in advance

From May

That tree does look really good. You definitely need the window screen. I do that at the time of planting, and you should go ahead and do it now. Prune the lower limbs enough to get the screen in place. Over the next couple of years gradually prune more of the lower limbs until the trunk is clear up to about 3 or 4 feet. Mulching is controversial. Some folks feel it gives pests a place to hide. I personally don’t mulch but do use the ground fabric to block weeds and grasses for the first few years. Good luck.
What Native said. I don't use mulch b/c of voles/mice but the window screens are a good idea. We've got a heck of a vole problem here. They kill a few of my young trees every winter. I've heard you can mix gravel in w/ the soil when planting to deter them but I've seen them (or moles) literally tunnel all under my 21A crusher run driveway so I'm not sure how well mixing some 57 gravel in would help...

A few years ago I painted all my fruit trees (100+ of them) w/ a white latex paint to protect from sun scald in my orchard. Also mixed a pesticide in with it to protect from borers & low & behold, it also stopped rabbits / mice from girdling any of my trees so I quit using window screen & paint the trunks now :)
good points and I thnak you guys. Today my fall food plots go in. Good rain coming this afternoon and I won't be back to northern WI for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I think the Crabs will have to wait a few weeks to get the window screen treatment. I'm not sure yet if we have a VOLE problem in Northern WI?