Have you looked at your yard lately and felt it’s a little bland? Adding a Brandywine crabapple tree to your yard could be the perfect pop of color you’ve been searching for!
This drought-tolerant and pollution-tolerant tree will offer stunning, bright pink springtime blooms that lead to large, yellow crabapple fruits. It’ll provide beauty for about three seasons out of the year and will attract beautiful wildlife like butterflies and birds.
Keep reading to learn more about this crabapple variety and how to keep it healthy in your yard!
History of the Brandywine Crabapple Tree
The Brandywine crabapple tree derives from Simpson Nursery, which resides in Vincennes, Indiana. This nursery focuses primarily on growing and cultivating hawthorn and crabapple trees.
Nursery owner Robert Simpson created the tree sometime between the 1970s and 1980s. It’s a crossbreed product of a few crabapple varieties, so it doesn’t grow natively anywhere.
Characteristics of the Brandywine Crabapple Tree
This deciduous, hardy tree will give your yard beautiful foliage, fragrant and vibrant flowers, and eye-catching yellow crabapples. It makes the perfect ornamental tree to help decorate your yard; you can even use its fruits in recipes!
The tree typically grows to around 15-20 feet tall, spreading about the same. The tree will showcase buds and green foliage when the growing season begins. As the season progresses, the flowers will open up and display showy, bright pink flowers.
Their coloring is slightly darker and more saturated than cherry blossoms. Crabapples will eventually take the place of the flowers. Then the leaves will turn a beautiful red and eventually fall to the ground.
Brandywine crabapple trees produce much larger fruits compared to other crabapple tree varieties. They’re typically about 3 inches in diameter, whereas other varieties tend to be half this size.
The fruits range in color from green to yellow when ready for harvesting, so don’t mistake them for being unripe! They essentially look like large green or yellow cherries.
Growing and Caring for Brandywine Crabapple Trees
If you’re looking to plant crabapple trees like the Brandywine variety, caring for them is very low-maintenance.
The Brandywine crabapple tree is highly drought-tolerant and can even handle quite a bit of pollution in the air. So, it’s a hardy tree.
If you miss a few waterings, the tree won’t start wilting like other landscaping trees and shrubs. And its pollution tolerance makes it great for people who live in urban settings where air pollution is abundant.
Pollution can hinder photosynthesis and growth with most plants, but this crabapple tree shouldn’t have issues with it.
Once you plant your beautiful tree, use the following information as a quick guide to help you care for it!
The Brandywine crabapple tree does especially well in USDA hardiness zones 4-8. These zones cover most of the United States, except extreme north and south, where temperatures are more drastic. The tree will thrive in most states.
Its growing season lasts from spring to winter, much longer than other landscaping trees and shrubs. This timeframe is about eight months in total, typically starting in April.
Size and Spacing
These crabapple trees will need a minimum of 20 feet between each other or other trees. They usually have up to a 20-foot spread. However, if you’re nervous about a congested look, it would be wise to go for 25 feet.
When planting your Brandywine crabapple tree, ensure the soil is fertile, moist, and well-drained. Using compost in your soil can help provide natural nutrients, keeping the soil fertile. And if your soil is having drainage issues, try incorporating rocks or organic matter.
Your crabapple tree will need full sun to grow properly and stay healthy. This is about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
The tree will typically need about an inch of water per week. Adjust your watering depending on if it rains, as you don’t want to over-water.
Once your tree gets adjusted in its growing spot, it will be drought-tolerant. So, it can handle a few missed waterings if needed.
Crabapple trees don’t usually need a lot of fertilizing. If you want to fertilize your crabapple tree, always do it once a year at the beginning of spring. This is all it will need.
You’ll typically need a flowering tree fertilizer to ensure the tree gets what it needs. Or you can use organic fertilizers like manure if you can access it.
The Brandywine crabapple tree has sterile pollen. So, it won’t produce fruits without pollinating with at least one other non-sterile crabapple or apple tree.
Pollination will occur with the wind, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These entities will carry the pollen between each tree to the Brandywine crabapple tree.
You should only prune your crabapple tree in late winter when the tree is dormant, where stress is less likely. Aim for pruning around February. During this time, cut off any diseased or dead parts of the tree to promote healthy growth in the springtime.
Brandywine crabapple trees are rather disease-resistant, especially to mildew, which is a type of white fungus. The tree is susceptible to just a few crabapple diseases, including the following:
- Blight – a fungal disease that causes yellow and brown spots on the tree’s leaves.
- Scab – a fungal disease that causes brown spots and rotting on the fruits and leaves.
If you see signs of these diseases, you can easily treat them using a fungicide.
Here are some potential pests you might come across:
- Aphids – small bugs that suck the sap and nutrients out of trees and plants.
- Japanese beetles – a beetle that eats and destroys foliage.
If you see chewed or discolored leaves, these could be signs that you have some of these pests. Using an organic insecticide to get rid of these pests can help.
When to Harvest Brandywine Crabapples
Brandywine crabapples will start appearing on your tree, but they won’t be ready to pick until the fall. So, once the fall hits and they reach about 2-3 inches in diameter, you can pick them.
Eating Brandywine Crabapples
While these crabapples are edible raw if you want to try them out, they aren’t very palatable when raw, so most people cook them down to eliminate the bitterness.
What Do They Taste Like?
Brandywine crabapples have a very tart and bitter taste to them. But you can make them taste better by cooking them down and mixing them with other ingredients.
Culinary Uses for Brandywine Crabapples
Due to their overall bitterness, these crabapples are better for sweetened, cooked foods. Think about jam, cakes, syrups, and other dessert-like foods. They can work great in mixed fruit desserts like tarts, cobblers, and pies, where other fruity flavors complement them.
Brandywine Crabapple Recipe Ideas
Here are some great crabapple recipes to try with your Brandywine crabapples:
Health Benefits of Brandywine Crabapples
The primary health benefit of consuming crabapples is their vitamin C content. This vitamin is vital in keeping your immune system healthy and helping your body heal from illnesses and injuries. It can also help with the following:
- Preventing cancer
- Improving the immune system during cancer treatment
- Reducing your risk for heart disease
- Reducing risks for eye issues
- Reducing colds and cold duration
Where to Buy Brandywine Crabapple Tree Saplings
Wrapping Up the Vibrant and Fragrant Brandywine Crabapple Tree
Does your yard need more color? The Brandywine crabapple tree can turn your yard into a gorgeous oasis with its eye-catching pink flowers and yellow-green fruits. And it’s sure to stick around and bloom for years with its drought and pollution tolerance!
Check out our Crabapple Tree page for more information on these beautiful trees!
- About the Author
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Ashley Masiello is a home gardener, outdoor lover, video editor, artist, general freelance writer, and a writer for Minnetonka Orchards. She has a bachelor’s degree in film/media and two minors in writing and art.
She loves to tend to her plants, participate in all kinds of outdoor projects, and looks forward to planting a beautiful garden every spring.
Ashley loves sharing her knowledge about planting and fun outdoor DIY projects!
Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.