Crab Apple Malus Sylvestris

Description & features

British Grown - The British Grown logo denotes plants and trees that have been both propagated and grown in the UK. Read more

Step 1 - Select plant type

Bare root guide

Step 2 - Size and quantity

Photo
Size / Height
Price
Quantity
 
30L pot size / 2.4-3.5m
£132.00
70L pot size / 3.0-4.5m
£230.00

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

British Grown - The British Grown logo denotes plants and trees that have been both propagated and grown in the UK. Read more

Product description

MALUS SYLVESTRIS – Wild Crab Apple

Characteristics

This is the wild apple or common Crab Apple.  Native to the UK and much of Europe it has white, flushed pink flowers in the spring and greenish yellow fruits in autumn. 

It will grow into a small tree or large branched shrub with a maximum height of 10m (30ft)

Where to grow

Crab Apples grow best in fertile, moist deep, loamy soils.  They will do best with a little protection from exposure and wind if they are to flower and fruit well, as they depend upon insect pollination.  They will not tolerate very wet or waterlogged soils.  If the ground is stony or nutrient poor, add some compost to the backfill when planting.

Did you know?

Often thought to be the origin of cultivated apples, DNA research has now shown that it only has a small influence on fruiting apples which are primarily derived from Malus seiversii a wild apple from central Asia.

Many of the hedgerow apples found throughout the countryside are not the true native wild apple but naturalised domestic apples which have grown from the pips in discarded apple cores.  The size of the apples produced on the wild Crab Apple can vary widely.
 

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Spreading
Growth rate
Medium
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty / hard to grow
Medium
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Spring
Autumn colour
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Small leaves
Flower colour
Pink
White
Flowering type
Single
Flowering month
April
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Yellow
Native / Naturalised
Native
Uses
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food
Good Firewood
Bee Friendly
Edible Fruit/Nuts

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Spreading
Growth rate
Medium
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty / hard to grow
Medium
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Spring
Autumn colour
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Small leaves
Flower colour
Pink
White
Flowering type
Single
Flowering month
April
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Yellow
Native / Naturalised
Native
Uses
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food
Good Firewood
Bee Friendly
Edible Fruit/Nuts

Aftercare

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.

Watering

The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.

Staking

If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.

Ties

Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


Comments

By Barbara Crouch on 02/06/2016

I am looking for a crab apple tree which will not exceed a height of 2 metres.  Can you recommend a variety which meets this requirement?

Thank you

By Simon on 03/06/2016

Hello Barbara,

We don’t stock a variety that will stay quite that small, but you could try Malus Run Rival: https://www.chewvalleytrees.co.uk/products/detail/malus-sun-rival/1 or something like the variety ‘Gorgeous’, which you could prune to restrict its size.

By Peter Allen on 05/10/2016

I am looking for a Malus to grow no more than say 10feet.
Could the Sylvesteris be pruned to keep to this height ? Or would you recommend an alternative ?

Please let me know.

Thank you.

By Simon on 07/10/2016

Hello Peter,

Malus sylvestris could be pruned - it is also used in hedges so no reason why not. However, it’s not the most ornamental or compact crab apple. You might be better opting for the diminutive, weeping Sun Rival variety, or the lovely Harry Baker variety, with its large, deep red crabs.

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