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The Robinson Crabapple Tree

Are you in search of a beautiful addition to your landscape? You won’t regret planting the Robinson Crabapple Tree with its lush pink flowers in the early spring, unique textured bark, and plump fruit in the fall.

Continue reading to learn more about the history of this disease-resistant tree and how to care for one of your own!

Looking to buy a Robinson Crabapple Tree? Check availability.

Bright pink flowers on a crabapple tree.

History of the Robinson Crabapple Tree

This beautiful tree was created in a family-owned nursery that was founded in the early 19th century in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sometime in the 1980s was when the Robinson Crabapple originated by grafting stems of other crabapple trees together to give the Robinson its unique attributes.

Characteristics of the Robinson Crabapple Tree

The Robinson Crabapple is a show stopper with its fragrant flowers, persistent fruit, and full branches of color-changing leaves. Its colors and long branches have humans coming to picnic underneath in the summer, while the plump fruit attracts animals to snack all winter long.

What Does it Look Like

Standing 15-20 feet high with width spans up to 25 feet wide, this tree makes a lovely feature in your landscaping design. Its textured bark stands out against the green foliage in the summer and orange leaves in the fall. Spring is when you’ll be treated to beautiful pink flowers that provide a cheerful pop of color and later turn into plump fruit in the summer.

A crabapple tree covered in pink blossoms.

What Does it Smell Like

The Robinson Crabapple’s pink flower gives off a sweet fragrance that humans and pollinators love!

Consider planting this tree upwind from your favorite hang-out place in your yard for a delightful surprise when the wind blows.

What Does it Taste Like

Crabapples are tart and tangy. Although many don’t enjoy eating them raw like you would a regular apple, their high pectin and acid content make them perfect for jams and jellies!

The blossoms of a crabapple tree are another favorite treat enjoyed by many. The delicate floral taste makes them a delicious and aesthetically pleasing addition to any salad or summertime tea.

Is it Safe to Eat Crabapples?

The flesh of crabapples is safe to eat and delicious too! When cutting the fruit to cook with or eat, remember that the core contains a toxic compound that, when ingested, can become cyanide and harmful to your body.

Using Crabapples in the Kitchen

A cluster of bright red crabapples on a tree.

Crabapples are a fun, unique way to add some pop to your favorite dishes.

Crabapples have many similarities with other apples. If one of the recipes below doesn’t catch your eye, you can substitute crabapples in most of your favorite apple dishes.

Crabapple Jelly

The most common way to use crabapples is by making Crabapple Jelly. This recipe will yield two pints, but we bet you’ll make more once you taste this on warm biscuits!

Crabapple Crisp

Crabapple Crisp is another delicious way to enjoy crabapples. Add a dollop of ice cream and you’ve got the perfect fall treat!

Pickled Crabapples

If your tree overproduces and you don’t want to waste your harvest, Pickled Crabapples are a great solution! With just a few ingredients, you can preserve these delicious fruits to hold you over until the next harvest season!

Growing a Robinson Crabapple Tree

Lots of pink blossoms on a crabapple tree.

Crabapple trees, in general, are hardy and easy to care for. The Robinson Crabapple is no exception, this beautiful four-season tree will have your neighbors slowing down to gawk at your newest addition to the landscape.

When considering planting and growing a Robinson Crabapple tree, keep in mind that to produce fruit, you’ll need to plant two trees no more than 20 feet apart.

Grow Zone & Soil Type

This hardy and adaptable crabapple tree grows best in USDA grow zones 4-8.

It’s important to ensure the soil you plant in drains well. Natural mulch surrounding the tree’s base is preferred to keep fungus and pests at bay.

When choosing the perfect spot for your tree, remember it loves the sunshine!


Perfect planting weather is spring or fall when the soil is cool and moist. However, if you’ve missed this window and don’t want to wait until next season to plant, all you need to do is avoid extreme heat or freezing temperatures.

For all the tips and tricks for planting, check out our How to Plant a Crabapple Tree post.

A group of pink-flowered crabapple trees.


Unless you experience drought-like conditions, it’s not necessary to water your established crabapple tree. If by chance you do experience times with little to no normal rainfall, be sure to give your crabapple tree a good watering once a week.

It’s important to prune your crabapple tree each year to encourage new, healthy growth in the spring. It’s best to prune during its dormant time in very late winter or super early spring.

For more information, take a look at our post How to Prune a Crabapple Tree.

Diseases & Pests

The Robinson Crabapple is a disease-resistant tree. If you start to see brown spots on the fruit, or yellowing leaves before they should be turning in the fall, your tree may be infected with Apple Scab or Cedar Apple Rust. Both of these diseases are treatable if caught early enough.

For more information on diseases and how to treat them, take a glance at our Crabapple Tree Diseases post.

Harvesting Crabapples

Harvesting crabapples can be done in the late fall. The best way to tell if they are ready to be picked is by cutting one in half and checking to see if the seeds are brown. If they are, and the flesh isn’t too hard to bite through, you’re good to go!

If you can wait until after the first frost, the flesh of the fruit softens even more and becomes much sweeter! Worried about deer getting to your harvest before you can? Once plucked from the tree, store them in your freezer for a couple of days. This should sweeten them right up!

Where to Buy a Tree

Pink blossoms on a Robinson crabapple tree.

Have you decided you’re ready to boost curb appeal by planting a Robinson Crabapple Tree in your front yard? We can help!

We highly recommend purchasing your tree from one of our favorite online retailers, Nature Hills Nursery.

Order yours in time to enjoy spring blossoms. Or, if you missed spring planting, visit them later in the year to add the Robinson to your fall gardening lineup.

If you aren’t sold on the Robinson Crabapple, and you’re looking for other varieties, check out our Crabapple Varieties post.

Frequently Asked Questions

The basic information about growing crabapple trees is listed above. But you may have more questions.

Are crabapple tree roots invasive?

Crabapple tree roots are not invasive. It is still important to consider any hardscape landscaping you’ve installed. It’s recommended to plant crabapple trees at least eight feet away from your home or garage.

What is the difference between a crabapple and a regular apple?

The biggest difference between an apple and a crabapple is size. Crabapples generally grow no larger than 2-3 inches in diameter.

How long will my crabapple tree live?

While their ability to produce fruit stops around 40 years of age, if properly cared for, you can expect a 40-60 years life in most crabapple trees.

Wrapping Up the Robinson Crabapple Tree

Closeup of lovely pink blossoms against the bark of a crabapple tree.

Now that you’ve learned what the Robinson Crabapple tree is all about, you probably understand why it’s a favorite among the hundreds of crabapple tree varieties! It’s hard to ignore that it’s easy to grow, produces delicious fruit, and is a beautiful addition to your landscape.

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