When you think of crabapples, chances are the Dolgo Crabapple is one of the varieties that springs to mind. A favorite among growers everywhere for its hardiness, ornamental beauty, and quintessential crabapple harvest, the Dolgo is super popular for a very good reason!
Read on to learn all about growing, caring for, and enjoying Dolgo Crabapples yourself.
Looking to buy a Dolgo Crabapple tree? Check availability.
Characteristics of Dolgo Crabapple Trees
There are so many reasons the Dolgo Crabapple is considered one of the best crabapple varieties. Taste, color, ornamentality, and the traits of the trees themselves are just the broadest view of why so many crabapple growers love this variety.
First, let’s talk about appearance. Many crabapple trees are loved not just for their fruit, but for their beauty…and the Dolgo Crabapple is no exception. This tree flowers vigorously in the springtime with large, fragrant, all white blooms, and it matures to a height and span of about 25 feet.
In addition, the Dolgo Crabapple tree is a fantastic pollinator. This means, wherever you plant it, it will help the other plants around it to grow and thrive as well.
Because of its size and visual beauty, the Dolgo Crabapple Tree is considered not only a favorable fruiting tree, but a fantastic landscaping ornamental as well. You can truly get the best of both worlds with this crabapple tree!
Among gardeners, there are countless positive traits that make the Dolgo Crabapple irresistible. This crabapple tree has early maturity and heavy bearing on its side, and thrives in just about every growing zone. It does well in cold snaps down to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit!
And when we say early maturity, we do mean early! Some Dolgo Crabapple trees begin to produce fruit in just their first couple years of maturity. These crops tend to be quite numerous and drop throughout August, September, and into October.
Another key quality of Dolgo Crabapple trees is their disease resistance. These trees are known to maintain their health and vigor without succumbing to any of the traditional crabapple tree diseases, such as mildew, scab, rust, and fireblight. This holds true even without spraying against these diseases.
Dolgo Crabapple fruits have the color of a more classic apple: they are a bright, rich red, with a creamy white flesh. When it comes to size, they are considered large for crabapples, ranging from an inch to two inches in diameter, and are somewhat oblong or grape shaped.
In terms of flavor, the Dolgo Crabapple has been compared to a sugar dusted cranberry. It has a classic apple sweetness, but also that famous, tart crabapple overtone. However, it carried this balance better than many other crabapple varieties, making it one of the few that can be enjoyed raw as well as cooked down
Fast Facts About Dolgo Crabapple Trees
Eating The Fruit
Being acidic in its flavor profile and straddling that fine line of sweet and tart, Dolgo Crabapples stand apart from many of their crabapple counterparts in that they can be enjoyed raw. They have just enough sweetness to keep the tart tones from being overly assertive.
Now, because they do still have that incredibly tart flavor profile, Dolgo Crabapples are not something everyone will enjoy raw. It really does come down to tolerance for that acidic note. However, once cooked down, they mellow out a bit and become exceptionally tasty.
As an added bonus, the naturally high levels of pectin present in crabapples makes this little fruit an ideal candidate for making jams and jellies, as no extra pectin is needed to achieve the desired texture.
In much the same way, Dolgo Crabapples can be cooked down for a rich, homemade syrup which can be blended with other fruits or spices to help balance the flavor profile. This syrup is great for pancakes, French Toast, or waffles.
Dolgo Crabapples can also be enjoyed in harmony with other fruits. They make a fantastic component in relishes or fruit salads, such as crabapple and cranberry relish. They are also frequently used in preserves.
Living up to the apple component in its name, the Dolgo Crabapple can also be transformed into a delicious, spicy cider. This perfectly complements the fall and winter holidays, especially when paired with orange slices and cranberries. It also makes a delicious crabapple juice and even a beer!
Like all crabapples, the Dolgo Crabapple has a robust profile of health benefits, making it a fantastic addition to any diet. Among the positive nutritional qualities present in the crabapple are pectin, calcium, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, manganese, amino acids, and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Crabapples also contain a high vitamin content, such as various B vitamins, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. All of these and more work together to strengthen bones, boost the immune system, help you sleep, rid your body of free radicals that cause inflammation, and so much more.
In addition, a particularly noteworthy health property of crabapples is their effect on digestion. Crabapples help to regulate the digestive system, reduce digestive discomfort, and more. When ripe, they serve as a natural laxative and help with bowel regularity.
At the same time, consuming unripe crabapples can reduce cases of piles and diarrhea. Crabapple pulp can also reduce stomach upset in children.
Growing Dolgo Crabapple Trees At Home
Preparing and Planting
Your Dolgo Crabapple tree will need a good spot in your landscaping or garden in order to truly flourish. When preparing to plant your tree at home, be sure to choose a spot with well draining soil and access to full sunlight.
Another thing to bear in mind when selecting a planting location is that these crabapple trees can be a bit messy when they begin to drop fruit. For this reason, many growers suggest planting the tree away from highly trafficked walkways, driveways, etc.
Once you have chosen the spot for your Dolgo Crabapple tree, be sure to clear the area of any weeds or rocks. Then, turn the soil and compost it if needed to make sure it’s healthy, fertile soil.
You will need to dig a hole for each crabapple tree. If you are planting multiple trees, be sure to space them 10 to 20 feet apart. Each hole should be as deep as the tree’s root ball, and twice as wide.
Once your hole is prepared, place the tree inside and fill the hole halfway with soil. Then, water the soil, wait for all the water to drain, and finally, add the rest of the soil back in. This will get your crabapple tree settled and established!
Caring and Maintaining
Each year when spring rolls around, be sure to compost and mulch around your crabapple tree. Ensure your tree receives at least an inch of water per week, supplementing where rainfall is lacking.
In the winter months, your crabapple tree will go dormant. To protect it from sun scald, you can buy a tree wrap and wrap it during the colder months. Prepare to prune your Dolgo Crabapple tree regularly, aiming for late winter or early spring. This is the ideal time while the tree is still dormant but the threat of particularly harsh weather has passed.
Once it begins putting out fruit, you can expect a vigorous annual harvest from your crabapple tree. It’s a good thing there are so many versatile ways to enjoy this particular crabapple variety, as you may find you have more on your hands than you know what to do with!
Where to Buy Dolgo Crabapple Trees
Because of their high popularity among crabapple growers, Dolgo Crabapple trees can often be found at local nurseries, lawn and garden centers, and even some supermarkets.
If you want to source them online, we recommend the reliable, high-quality Dolgo Crabapple trees from Stark Bros Nursery, a retailer that’s been in the garden plants business for over 200 years!
You can also find young Dolgo Crabapples for sale at Nature Hills Nursery.
Wrapping up Dolgo Crabapple Trees
Excited to grow a Dolgo Crabapple Tree in your own backyard? You’ll enjoy growing this low-maintenance tree and finding creative uses for the fruit each fall.
Before you get started, be sure to check out the Crabapple Trees page on our website! This fantastic resource will give you all the help you need to learn how to grow, care for, harvest, and enjoy your Dolgo Crabapples!
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of all things nature, gardening and the big outdoors.
A Midwest girl who’s been in the garden since she could first hold a hand trowel, Renee’s love of growing things has bloomed into a passion for healthy living, holistic lifestyle, and knowing where our food comes from.
Now a mother and maturing gardener herself, Renee is passionate about channeling everything she knows and continues to learn about gardening into lessons for her son and others. Her excitement for sharing this knowledge is only superseded by her excitement about being able to finally grow her own citrus plants in pots.
Renee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org