What is the best Crabapple Tree?

Mennoniteman

Well-Known Member
Show us your best crabs if you have any?
2 1/2 years ago in the spring of 2018 I started a little test on some popular crabapple varieties and the early voting results are in. I planted some American, Dolgo, Eliza's Choice, and Transcendent crabapple trees from Willis Orchards, the mail-order plant nursery in Cartersville, GA. I planted them in mid-April, all adjacent to each other in the same straight row in identical soil and environmental conditions, with tree protectors and a 4' high X 3' dia. wire deer fence. I didn't spray or water the trees at all, but I did trim the trees in late winter.
I highly recommend Willis Orchards, quality stock for reasonable prices and good communications, 2018 prices were as follows; American 3-4' Crabapple Tree, $12.95, Dolgo 3-4' Crabapple Trees, $14.95, Eliza's Choice 4-5' Crabapple $22.95, and Transcendent 3-4' Crabapple Tree $14.95.
The American crab outgrew the other trees, very scraggly looking, however, no apples thus far. The other three varieties grew at equal rates, and all produced a few apples in 2019, and all three kinds have a few more crabapples hanging this year.
However, Eliza's Choice (pics below) is loaded with fruit, head and shoulders above the rest. Now perhaps you noticed that the Eliza's Choice Trees that I planted were a foot bigger, due to availability, but the actual trees didn't look much difference in actual size, then and now, so I don't know how much of this early success is attributable to that, I will update this progress between these competitors next year.
Eliza's Choice is also holding all of the apples at this point in the fall in zone 6b, so it could potentially be dropping for our late November gun season?
e2420a11708ff2143983afab20abcca9.jpg
ef2aa9d0a082275d37e5d3090a358594.jpg
 
Last edited:

Jeff H

Well-Known Member
That's a beautiful picture with all of the Fall colors. At what point will you uncage them?
 

Mennoniteman

Well-Known Member
That's a beautiful picture with all of the Fall colors. At what point will you uncage them?
I uncage trees at 3-4 years old, when they have attained sufficient height so that the crown is tall enough to be out of reach of deer browsing. As soon as I uncage a tree, I remove the trunk protector, and paint the trunk with a mixture of interior latex and builders sand to prevent disease and discourage rubbing and girdling.
I do this as soon as I can because trees are much easier to take care of with the cage and protector removed.

52f13e572645fca8e636a13c8d507c76.jpg
 

Native Hunter

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately Eliza's Choice has just kept holding apples past our November gun season for me. Lot's of crabapples do that. Dolgo that Wildlife Group sells also holds on too long, but a few of them do drop at a rate enough to keep deer checking.

The best apple I have found for November gun season so far is the Yates Apple. It starts a slow drop in October and will still be dropping into late November in my area. Yates is a small apple - not a lot bigger than most crabs and always very productive for me. It is also has a great taste for human consumption, and one of the most disease resistant apples I've seen.

I don't get as excited about apples that hold nearly all winter as some folks seem to do. I'm fine with having a few trees like that, but I don't want them in my prime hunting locations. Last year I topworked some trees that I didn't like, and all of them are now Yates. However, I'm trying some new trees that will arrive this year in December from Blue Hill, and very excited about those.
 

TreeFan

Active Member
I have 2 Zumi crabs about 25 years old that fruit pretty heavy. The deer are not interested, but come October, the partridge find them irresistible and I am wishing I had a couple more.
 

Chainsaw

Well-Known Member
Native, I am one of those people that gets very excited about late holding trees. To clarify I want them to not hold their apples all winter but to drop and hold apples all winter, that is to slow drop their apples a little each and every day from late fall and throughout the winter. With enough trees like that we can possibly help the get deer thru the very hard winters here in better shape. If all goes as planned there will be a large amount of Turning Point apple trees doing that here, still I’d like other varieties to do that as well. Secondly I do want some of those trees in my prime hunting areas as well. I’m betting that the more days they spend in our prime hunting areas in peaceful bliss, the more days they might spend there during the pressured time of the rut, Just a theory on on the second point of course.

The other Apple timeframe that gets me excited is the period from November 15 to December 15. Apple varieties that regularly hold and drop during that period are in short in number here. Up until November 15 our grounds are normally littered with thousands of apples so that time period is taken care of here. The Yates Apple sounds like it should be added to our mix to help fill some of those dates. We’ll give it try.

Mennoniteman, Elizas’ choice looks like a great crabapple variety. Are the deer paying good attention to it or is it maybe too early to tell?
 

Native Hunter

Well-Known Member
Native, I am one of those people that gets very excited about late holding trees. To clarify I want them to not hold their apples all winter but to drop and hold apples all winter, that is to slow drop their apples a little each and every day from late fall and throughout the winter. With enough trees like that we can possibly help the get deer thru the very hard winters here in better shape. If all goes as planned there will be a large amount of Turning Point apple trees doing that here, still I’d like other varieties to do that as well. Secondly I do want some of those trees in my prime hunting areas as well. I’m betting that the more days they spend in our prime hunting areas in peaceful bliss, the more days they might spend there during the pressured time of the rut, Just a theory on on the second point of course.

The other Apple timeframe that gets me excited is the period from November 15 to December 15. Apple varieties that regularly hold and drop during that period are in short in number here. Up until November 15 our grounds are normally littered with thousands of apples so that time period is taken care of here. The Yates Apple sounds like it should be added to our mix to help fill some of those dates. We’ll give it try.

Mennoniteman, Elizas’ choice looks like a great crabapple variety. Are the deer paying good attention to it or is it maybe too early to tell?

Dave, I think you and I are pretty close in what we prefer. The November 15 - December 15 timeframe you mentioned is what I'm after the most, but an all winter fruit drop is also a great and very desirable thing. Actually my preferred window would be October 15 - November 30, which would also cover our early two day ML season. What I don't like is apples or crabapples that never fall and turn into dried up mummies on the tree. That's what I've had some trees to do, and those are the ones I will be topworking. Yes, I think you will like Yates very much, and Blue Hill sells that apple.

Below is an example of the mummified crab apples that are of no use to me.

txegArO.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DJN
Top