The Radiant Crabapple tree is hard to beat when it comes to sheer beauty and wow factor from spring through autumn. True to its name, this crabapple tree variety is as pleasing to the eye as the fruit is tasty on the tongue.
Read on to learn about this beautiful crabapple tree, including how to grow it, care for it, use its fruit, and so much more.
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Characteristics of Radiant Crabapple Trees
The Radiant Crabapple tree works double time as an ornamental landscaping and edible delicacy. These trees are extremely popular as accents in the yard. They grow to be about 15 to 20 feet in both mature height and spread, with a rather rounded and broad crown of buds and leaves.
Because of their attractive colors and wide reach, Radiant Crabapple trees are typically used to soften landscaping corners and breathe fresh life and color into harsher angles and dimmer corners of the yard.
The Radiant Crabapple tree accomplishes this task with wonderful bursts of color throughout the blooming season. It begins with tiny, pink buds which form as spring approaches. These little buds bring the branches of the crabapple tree to luscious life before opening at last into blossoms.
Equally lovely, the blossoms of the Radiant Crabapple tree are a rich, deeper pink hue and roughly an inch in diameter. They have a mild but decadent fragrance, a sweet nectar lasting for weeks at a time! All of these qualities make them ideal for attracting pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
Throughout the summertime, you can anticipate your Radiant Crabapple tree will indeed maintain its radiance. Its vibrant reddish-purple leaves will give way to a rich emerald hue as the warmer weather wears on.
Finally, as fall arrives, you can expect the crabapples themselves to become fully ripe as the leaves turn a fiery orange. The fruit of the Radiant Crabapple tree is about a half inch in diameter and makes for a fantastic snack. It’s truly one of the more easily edible crabapple varieties.
Once you’ve harvested from your Radiant Crabapple tree, be sure to leave some for nutrition for overwintering or late migratory birds and other wildlife. Just keep the fruits away from cats, dogs, horses, and other domestics, as they can be poisonous to them.
Learn More About Radiant Crabapple Trees
Eating The Fruit
Unlike certain other crabapple tree varieties, the fruit of the Radiant Crabapple tree is quite edible. Some of the best ways to enjoy this crabapple variety are in jams or jellies, as an additional component in cider, or even just as a raw snack! You can also use them in crabapple relish.
Due to trace amounts of cyanide contained in this type of fruit, consuming them cooked is usually your best bet. However, a quick snack of a few crabapples will not harm you.
Humans are also not the only ones who enjoy Radiant Crabapples! Birds, in particular, rely on these tart fruits, left on the tree branches, as sustenance at the beginning of winter. So it’s always wise to leave a few behind for them when harvesting for your own culinary purposes.
Like many crabapple varieties–and certainly like its contemporary edible types–the Radiant Crabapple boasts many health benefits.
These tiny fruits are quite high in vitamin content. This includes vitamins A, B, and C, which help with things like mental clarity and energy, strong eyesight, a healthy immune system, an overall reduction in inflammation throughout your body, and more.
Radiant Crabapples also contain plenty of additional, non-vitamin nutrients. Some of the standouts among them are antioxidants, amino acids, magnesium, manganese, iron, pectic, and calcium. They are also high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which can be difficult to come by for folks who don’t regularly consume meat or eggs.
Crabapples are also a knockout when it comes to digestive health! They can be enjoyed in several ways to aid with healthy bowel movements. The tartness of Radiant Crabapples can help reduce stomach upset, while the compounds in the fruit help regulate stools.
Crabapple pulp and unripened crabapples also have historical applications in treating nausea and upset stomachs in children, and addressing diarrhea and piles, respectively.
Growing Radiant Crabapple Trees At Home
Preparing and Planting
Radiant Crabapple trees are not considered to be especially needy trees. However, there are a few things you can prepare for when looking for where to plant them that will help them thrive at their very best.
Firstly, Radiant Crabapple trees do their best with at least six hours of full sunlight daily. This helps keep their leaves dry, and nourishes them as well.
In addition, the soil where you plant your Radiant Crabapple tree should ideally be enriched, moist, and well-draining. You can aid with soil health by mulching around the tree.
However, don’t stress too much about the soil type or if it’s not quite perfect. Radiant Crabapple trees are quite adaptable and can make do with many different soil types in varying health degrees.
Another thing to consider is how close your crabapple tree will be to walkways, paths, and highly trafficked areas. If left to over-ripen, crabapple fruits can drop and create quite a mess.
They can also then be more accessible to outdoor pets and wandering animals who they might harm. So it’s wise to take these factors into consideration when choosing where to plant your tree.
Once you have selected the perfect spot for your Radiant Crabapple tree, be sure to turn the soil, clearing it of rocks and weeds and allowing it to drain as well as possible. Then it’s time to start planting!
To begin, you must dig a hole for the tree’s root ball. The hole should be as deep as the root ball and roughly twice as wide. Loosen the root ball gently from the crabapple tree container, then place it into the hole. The root ball’s soil line and the hole’s sides should be about even.
Now you can fill the hole back in and deep water the soil. This will help bond the soil and the root ball together, removing any air pockets and encouraging ready growth.
Caring and Maintaining
Once planted, your Radiant Crabapple tree should not need an overabundance of attention. Be sure to water it regularly, a couple of inches a week, supplementing in times of drought. Keep it mulched and regularly fertilize the soil with compost to maintain that richness.
Also, keep an eye out for any signs of crabapple tree diseases and address them immediately should they present.
Pruning your Radiant Crabapple tree should only occur when the tree is dormant–generally in the winter or very, very early in the spring, before any flowering takes place. Otherwise, you run the risk of the fresh wounds introducing bacteria such as fire blight to the tree.
You should begin to see a crabapple harvest within 3 to 5 years of planting your tree. The good news is, you won’t have to wait nearly that long to enjoy its beauty.
The landscaping aspect of your Radiant Crabapple tree will be in full bloom within just a year or so, allowing you to enjoy it while you wait for the fruit to come in.
Where To Buy Radiant Crabapple Trees
As such a popular edible and ornamental variety, Radiant Crabapple trees can often be sourced from your local lawn and garden center, plant nursery, and even at some supermarkets!
If you are sourcing your Radiant Crabapple trees online, we recommend reliable products from Nature Hills Nursery.
Wrapping up Radiant Crabapple Trees
Are you excited to plant, grow, and harvest from your Radiant Crabapple tree? Before you get started, be sure to check out our Crabapple Trees Page! This valuable resource will help equip you with all the knowledge you need to grow happy, healthy, prolific crabapple trees of all sorts.
- 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 email@example.com