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The Chestnut Crabapple Tree

Crabapple trees are types of apple trees that grow in the wild. But just because they thrive in the wild doesn’t mean you can’t grow them, too! They’re great plants to grow at home because they’re attractive, low maintenance, and cold-hardy. But which crabapple tree variety should you choose?

Consider the Chestnut Crabapple Tree. They make an excellent choice with fruits that are fairly large for crabapples and have an unbeatable flavor.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about this special fruit tree!

Looking to buy a Chestnut Crabapple Tree? Check availability.

Chestnut Crabapples (Malus 'Chestnut') Ready to be Picked

Characteristics of the Chestnut Crabapple Tree

How it Looks

Chestnut Crabapple Trees are attractive trees to grow in your garden, offering something to see and enjoy year-round. They offer something to see and enjoy year-round, with vibrant foliage in the summer and fall, fruit around September, and blooming white flowers in the spring.

They produce round fruits that are red or a mix of red and golden in color. On the inside, the fruits have pale, off-white flesh.


These crabapple trees vary in size. Some reach 12 feet in height, while others grow to 25 feet tall. Typically, their spread is about as wide as they are tall.

The crabapples are about two inches in diameter, somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. This makes them one of the larger crabapple varieties, though they’re still quite small compared to regular apples.

History of the Chestnut Crabapple Tree

Chestnut Crabapple Trees were developed at the University of Minnesota in 1949. They were part of the university’s breeding program, which started nearly 150 years ago and has since created 28 different apple varieties.

Eating Chestnut Crabapples

bowl of apple sauce

How They Taste

Chestnut crabapples are known for their rich flavor. They’re sweet and nutty, tasting a bit like apple cider. Some people find notes of nutmeg and caramel, too.

People especially love chestnut crabapples because they have almost no bitterness to them. So they make a great sweet snack!

How to Use Them

Because of their flavor, chestnut crabapples are excellent for various uses. You can eat them fresh, make cider from them, turn them into applesauce, and more!

To make apple cider, follow the instructions in this post about How to Make Apple Cider (With a Press). You can also take your apple cider to the next level with this Apple Cider Rye Cocktail recipe. If applesauce is more up your alley, follow this simple Four-Ingredient Applesauce recipe.

And if you’re not quite ready to use the fruit yet, you can store fresh chestnut crabapples for four to five weeks.

Health Benefits

Like other types of apples, chestnut crabapples are healthy to eat. They’re low in fat and calories and offer nutrients like Vitamin C and magnesium.

However, because of chestnut crabapples’ small size, you would need to eat a lot of them to get a lot of these nutrients. Therefore, it’s best not to rely on them entirely.

But as a snack, crabapples are a great, healthy choice!

Where and When to Buy Chestnut Crabapples

Chestnut crabapples aren’t always easy to find in major grocery stores. If you want to get your hands on some, try your local farmers market or contact growers in your area who may have them. Your best bet is to search when they’re in season, around September and possibly October.

Growing Your Own Chestnut Crabapple Tree

Sweet Chestnut Crabapple Ready for Harvest

If you can’t find these crabapples for sale, your best option is to grow them yourself.

Keep reading for an overview of Chestnut Crabapple Tree growing conditions, tips, and more.

Growing Conditions

Crabapple trees generally prefer full sunlight and weather that isn’t too hot; this variety is no exception. Chestnut Crabapple Trees require eight to ten hours of full sunlight. They prefer cooler climates, and they’re fairly cold and hardy.

These trees do best in moderately moist but not overly wet conditions. And they can adapt to various soil conditions, though soil should be well-draining.

Most importantly, Chestnut Crabapple Trees are not self-pollinating. You’ll need another pollinator tree to ensure its growth and fruit production. The pollinator should be a different apple tree variety, and grow within 100 feet of your Chestnut Crabapple Tree for best results.

For more information, visit our Guide to Apple Tree Pollination.

Planting Chestnut Crabapple Trees

Chances are, if you’re growing a Chestnut Crabapple Tree, you’re not starting from scratch with seeds. More likely, you’ve purchased a young tree that you’re ready to transplant.

Once you find the right sunny spot, dig a hole for your tree. If you’re unsure how big your hole should be, consider going larger so your tree has room to grow.

Once you’ve placed your tree in the hole, re-fill it with soil around the roots. Give it plenty of water, then cover the spot with mulch to keep the moisture in.

If you’re planting multiple Chestnut Crabapple Trees or any other plant nearby, give your tree plenty of space, about 12 to 15 feet from other plants.

Looking for more step-by-step instructions and tips? Check out our How to Plant Crabapple Trees guide!

Care and Maintenance


Crabapple trees are relatively low maintenance. When they’re young, within their first year, you should water them regularly, about an inch per week. After that, they shouldn’t need much watering unless you find yourself in a particularly dry season.


Pruning is another area where these trees are low maintenance, as they don’t require much. However, it’s best to remove suckers and water sprouts if you see them. And suppose your tree contracts a disease or branches crowd each other. In that case, you may need to consider more pruning, including removing affected branches.

Read our blog about How to Prune a Crabapple Tree for more details.


So what kinds of diseases should you look out for? Fortunately, Chestnut Crabapple Trees are somewhat disease resistant. However, cedar apple rust is a disease you may encounter. This is a type of fungus, and as you may have guessed, it’s often orange-ish red in color.

Other diseases that are common for crabapple trees include fire blight and scab.

Learn more from our Crabapple Tree Diseases page.

Harvesting Your Chestnut Crabapples

Now for the fun part! When your crabapples are no longer green, and instead they’re the red (or red and gold) color that you expect, they’re ready to harvest.

Hold the fruit in your hand and twist to pick your Chestnut Crabapples from the tree. The stem should break away from the branch easily. If you have to pull or yank it, it’s probably not quite ripe.

Where to Buy Chestnut Crabapple Trees

Chestnut Crabapples (Malus 'Chestnut') on Tree

Ready to start growing your own Chestnut Crabapple Tree? You have plenty of options! Many nurseries, in-person retailers, and online stores sell them.

Wrapping Up the Chestnut Crabapple Tree

Now that you know about the Chestnut Crabapple Tree, you’re ready to enjoy all it offers! Whether you plan to grow the tree for its aesthetic qualities or its delicious fruit, you’ll find it an excellent addition to your home garden.

Interested in learning more about crabapples? Visit our crabapple tree page for more varieties, growing tips, and other helpful information.