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The Red Splendor Crabapple Tree

Do you need a cold-hardy, beautiful, flowering tree to make your yard eye-catching? The Red Splendor crabapple tree might be the perfect option! This tree will offer your yard color-changing foliage, beautiful springtime pink blooms, and bright red fall fruits.

Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous tree and how you can care for it in your yard!

Are you looking to buy a Red Splendor crabapple tree? Check availability.

History of the Red Splendor Crabapple Tree

The Red Splendor crabapple tree derives from a nursery once owned by Melvin Bergeson in Fertile, Minnesota. It was most likely created sometime in the mid-1900s. And it became known for its overall hardiness when other trees in his nursery wouldn’t survive winter.

But this crabapple variety always pulled through!

Characteristics of the Red Splendor Crabapple Tree

A crabapple tree covered in dark pink blossoms similar to the Red Splendor crabapple tree.

This deciduous tree will often grow taller than 20 feet, producing foliage, flowers, and fruit from spring to winter. It is very cold-tolerant as it can survive Minnesota’s harsh winters.

Tree Qualities

This crabapple variety can grow up to 25 feet. And it typically has a 20-foot spread but can sometimes reach 25 feet. The tree starts out with spring foliage that is a combination of green and red. Then the pink flowers start to show up not too long after, which then turn into crabapples in the fall.

The leaves turn purplish towards the end of the year and fall off by wintertime. And the crabapples stick around until winter as well.

Snow on crabapples.

Crabapple Qualities

Red Splendor crabapples are typically only about 1-2 inches in diameter and are an apple red. They have long stems, making them look similar to cherries.

You’ll find little seeds in the fruit that produce a cyanide-like toxin. So, you cannot eat these, which makes the Red Splendor an ornamental crabapple tree.

Growing and Caring for Red Splendor Crabapple Trees

Crabapple trees like this are immensely low-maintenance, so they won’t need much care from you after planting. This allows you to admire its beauty instead of worrying about whether or not it will survive.

With that said, these trees do need some maintenance, especially in the first year. Use the following information as a quickstart guide when planting your Red Splendor crabapple tree.

Planting Zones

This crabapple variety does best in USDA hardiness zones 4-8. These zones cover most of the United States, meaning the tree can handle many different temperatures.

Growing Season

Closeup of dark pink crabapple blossoms.

The growing season for this crabapple tree is usually from spring to the beginning of winter. So, for about three seasons, you’ll have a beautiful view, whether it be foliage, flowers, or fruit.

The tree will not die but will go dormant throughout the winter after losing its leaves. Then the growing season will start again in the spring.

Size and Spacing

Red Splendor crabapple trees typically grow tall, ranging from 20 to 25 feet. Along with this comes up to a 20-foot spread. So, you should have a minimum of 20 feet between each of your crabapple trees to prevent overcrowding.

Soil Requirements

Red Splendor crabapple trees enjoy slightly acidic soil, which is ranges from 5-7 on the pH scale. Read our blog post on soil pH tester recommendations to help you decide before buying one.

Crabapples also like nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. Mixing organic matter into the planting soil might be wise to help with drainage.

Covering the roots with mulch will also help prevent water-logging, as it’ll absorb most of the water.


Your Red Splendor crabapple trees will need full sunlight. This means they’ll need about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. They can handle partial shade, but they might not grow as tall. So, plant them in an area where there are no sun-blocking structures or plants.


These crabapple trees need about 1-2 inches of water with a garden hose or sprinkler each week. Typically one inch will be enough. But, on particularly hot and dry days, they’ll need closer to two inches each week.

Keep an eye on the weather throughout the growing season to assess your watering schedule. And ensure the soil is damp to the touch most of the time.


Red Splendor crabapple trees don’t always need fertilizer. They can usually grow just fine without it. However, if you notice it growing slowly or you know your soil doesn’t have enough nutrients, it can be helpful.

Fertilizing once in the spring and once in the fall should be sufficient.


Closeup of a honey bee on crabapple blossoms.

Crabapple trees need open pollination to produce fruit. This means that the wind and pollinators like bees and butterflies will help the pollination process. With this, you will need more than one crabapple tree for pollination.

You should have a minimum of two trees, but it’s best to have three or more. Make sure they’re within the same vicinity of each other so pollination will work.


When winter starts rolling in, your crabapple tree will need pruning with shears. Ideally, you should prune them when they lose all their foliage and fruit. This is when the tree starts going into its dormant stage. Cut off dead or diseased branches to help promote healthy growth in the spring.

Possible Diseases

Red Splendor crabapple trees generally don’t have a long list of diseases. The two primary diseases that could attack your tree are scab and fireblight.

Closeup of scab disease on apples.
Scab disease.

Scab is a fungal disease that attacks the fruit and leaves of your crabapple tree. You’ll notice brown spots on the fruit, eventually eating away at it. Yellowing and browning of the leaves is another sign of scab. The leaves will sometimes fall off prematurely as the fungus eats away at them.

You can usually help treat scab by cutting off the diseased parts of the tree. You can also use a multipurpose fungicide spray to kill any fungi that might still be lingering.

Fireblight is a bacterial infection that can attack your crabapple trees. Crispy, dead leaves and leaky wounds are the most common signs of the disease.

The bad new is you cannot treat fireblight. But you can prevent it from spreading by cutting off the diseased parts of the tree. Act quickly, as it can kill your tree.

Possible Pests

Some common crabapple pests include the following:

  • Aphids – small sap-sucking bugs.
  • Spider mites – tiny web-spinning bugs that will eat the leaves of your crabapple trees.
  • Scales – another small sap-sucking bug.

These bugs can cause some serious damage to your crabapple trees. So, you should look for a fruit tree insecticide to spray on them to kill them and prevent them from returning.

To Harvest or Not

Red crabapples on a tree in the fall.

These crabapples are not for human consumption as they taste horrible and contain small poisonous seeds.

Be vigilant to make sure your pets don’t get a hold of them, either. Fido and Kitty can get sick if they eat crabapples of any kind.

Leave these fruits for the wild animals and birds!

Where to Buy Red Splendor Crabapple Tree

Buds on a fruit tree in the spring.

Have we sold you on the beauty this ornamental will bring to your garden, and now you want to plant Red Splendor crabapple trees of your own?

We can help you there — check out Etsy for young trees to plant this year!

Wrapping Up the Red Splendor Crabapple Tree

A female bluebird on a pink flowering crabapple tree branch.
Female bluebird on a crabapple branch.

The Red Splendor crabapple tree will make a great addition to your yard with its cold-hardy nature and beauty. You’ll get to enjoy its bright pinks and reds for three seasons out of the year. And it requires little to no maintenance, making caring for them easy!

Are you looking for more information on crabapples? Check out the Crabapple Trees page on our website for blog posts on different varieties, plus helpful growing and care guides!