The Siberian Crabapple tree, also known as Malus baccata, is a beautiful deciduous tree native to Siberia, Northern China, and Mongolia. This tree is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks worldwide. It is valued for its showy pink or white flowers, edible fruit, and attractive fall foliage.
Characteristics of the Siberian Crabapple Tree
The Siberian Crabapple tree is small to medium-sized, typically growing up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The tree has a rounded crown with a dense branching pattern that creates a beautiful canopy of leaves.
The leaves are small and oval-shaped, with a glossy, dark green color in summer and changing to a beautiful yellow, orange, or red color in fall.
In spring, it produces an abundance of fragrant pink or white flowers. These flowers are typically 1 inch in diameter and form clusters of 3 to 5 blooms. The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
After flowering, the Siberian Crabapple tree produces small, round fruit that is typically 0.5 to 1 inch in diameter. The fruit is bright red or yellow, with a tart flavor and a firm, crunchy texture. The fruit is often used to make jams, jellies, and cider since it is considered too tart to be eaten fresh.
History of the Siberian Crabapple Tree
The Siberian Crabapple tree is native to Siberia, Northern China, and Mongolia and has been used for various purposes by local communities.
In traditional Chinese medicine, its fruit has been used for its medicinal properties. The fruit is believed to have astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties and has been used to treat various ailments, including diarrhea, sore throat, and liver disease.
In addition to their medicinal uses, these crabapples are also high in pectin, making them an excellent choice for making jams and jellies. It can also be used to make cider or vinegar.
The Siberian Crabapple tree was introduced to Europe in the 18th century, where it quickly gained popularity as an ornamental tree. The tree’s beautiful flowers, fruit, and foliage made it popular for gardens and parks.
The Siberian Crabapple tree was first introduced to the United States in the 19th century. The tree quickly gained popularity as a hardy and adaptable tree, able to grow in a wide range of soils and climates.
The tree is now widely planted across the United States as an ornamental tree and for its practical uses.
How to use the Siberian Crabapple Tree
The Siberian Crabapple tree is primarily grown as an ornamental tree, valued for its beautiful flowers, fruit, and foliage. It is also an important tree for wildlife, providing food and habitat for various birds and animals.
In addition to its ornamental and wildlife benefits, the Siberian Crabapple tree has several practical uses. The fruit is high in pectin, making it an excellent choice for making jams and jellies. The wood is hard and dense, making it an ideal choice for carving, turning, and other woodworking projects.
Although not commonly eaten fresh, crabapples can be made into several recipes. It is most commonly made into jam, which is known to be quite delicious! Try this homemade crabapple jelly recipe on toast, muffins, and more! It’s sure to be a great addition to any breakfast table.
Crabapples can also be pressed into juice, made into butter, or added to bread and muffins!
Health Benefits of the Siberian Crabapple
Including Siberian Crabapples in your diet can have numerous health benefits, ranging from supporting immune system function to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Siberian Crabapples are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is also essential for immune system function, helping to support the body’s defense against infections and illnesses.
Studies suggest that compounds found in apples, including crabapples, may help to lower blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The high fiber content of Siberian Crabapples can help promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. The flavonoids found in the fruit have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.
Moreover, crabapples’ anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body, potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.
Siberian Crabapples have numerous health benefits, making them a great, healthy option to add to your diet!
Growing Your Siberian Crabapple Tree
Siberian Crabapple trees are well-liked for their beauty and hardiness. Here’s how to grow your own Crabapple tree and ensure it thrives!
Siberian Crabapple trees thrive with full sun and well-drained soil. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and has soil that drains well. The tree can grow in various soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
Plant your Siberian Crabapple tree in the spring or fall when the soil is moist and temperatures are cooler. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball.
Place the tree in the hole, ensuring the graft union (the point where the tree was grafted onto the rootstock) is above the soil line. Backfill the hole with soil and water well.
Watering your tree deeply once a week is essential, especially during hot, dry weather. The crabapple trees prefer moist soil but can tolerate periods of drought once established. You should also fertilize the tree yearly in the spring with a balanced fertilizer.
Remember to prune your crabapple tree in the late winter or early spring to remove any dead or diseased wood. You can also shape the tree at this time to maintain a desired form. Avoid pruning during the summer, as this can stimulate new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter.
Although crabapple trees are resilient, you should always protect your tree from pests and diseases by monitoring the tree for signs of damage or stress. Insect pests such as aphids and scales can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Fungal diseases such as apple scabs can be controlled with fungicides.
Siberian Crabapple trees typically produce fruit in the late summer or early fall. Harvest the fruit when it is ripe and firm but not overly soft. Use the fruit for cooking or preserving, or enjoy it fresh (although this is typically not preferred since it can be unbearably tart!).
These simple steps allow you to grow a healthy and productive Siberian Crabapple tree. Your tree will provide you with years of beauty and fruit with proper care.
Where to Buy Seeds/Plants/Trees
Siberian Crabapple Trees (and their seeds!) can be challenging to find; be sure to check Nature Hills Nursery, and Fast Growing Trees regularly if you’re looking to purchase your own, or check in with local nurseries in your area.
The Siberian Crabapple Tree: A Beautiful Tree
The Siberian Crabapple tree is a beautiful and versatile tree that can add beauty and function to any landscape.
Whether grown for its ornamental value, edible fruit, or woodworking potential, this tree is an excellent choice for homeowners and landscapers alike. With its hardy nature and low-maintenance requirements, the Siberian Crabapple tree is a tree that can be enjoyed for many years to come.
To learn more about other crabapple varieties, from their growth and harvesting to their preparation, visit the Crabapple page on our website.