When searching for ornamental fruit trees to decorate your garden, the options are hardly one climate fits all. Luckily, the stunning Starlite Crabapple Tree is hardy enough to fruit through snowy winters.
If you want to know more about what makes the Starlite Crabapple Tree a true star, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how to plant and care for this resilient crabapple variety!
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History of the Starlite Crabapple Tree
After emigrating from its home in Central Asia to North America via the Silk Road, crabapple trees stole the hearts of botanists, nature enthusiasts, and, eventually, home gardeners.
After many years of popularity, the crabapple tree diversified into over 800 different varieties, including the Starlite Crabapple Tree.
Nowadays, crabapple trees come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, climates, and types of fruit!
Characteristics of the Starlite Crabapple Tree
The Starlite Crabapple Tree gets its name from its snowy white blooms that cluster like stars at the start of spring. The glossy green foliage of the tree causes the tree to gleam cosmically.
In the fall, bright red fruit that grows in groups like small berries appears and sticks around through the cold weather, even after the leaves have turned yellow and dropped.
These trees can grow up to 20 feet tall and just as wide, branching upright, but can be kept smaller in space-challenged areas by careful pruning.
The white blooms are super fragrant, attracting all kinds of flying friends.
How to Use Your Starlite Crabapples
Sometimes crabapples are edible, sometimes not. And even if they are edible, you still might not necessarily want to eat them.
Unfortunately, the Starlite Crabapple Tree falls into the latter category. The fruit is extremely tart, too much so to be eaten raw or cooked without excessive sugar.
However, that doesn’t mean the fruit is useless!
Aside from its very important role as a pollinator attractor and ornamental asset, the fruit of the Starlite Crabapple Tree can be used in a few different ways.
First, you can use the crabapples to make some homemade apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has widespread uses, from cooking to cleaning to holistic remedies for heartburn and bloating.
Crabapples also contain high levels of pectin, a soluble fiber found in many fruits. It’s often used as a thickener, especially crucial in jellies, jams, and gummies.
Pectin is also thought to aid in healthy digestion and is found in many different kinds of medicines.
Last but not least, you can use the crabapple tree’s blooms, too!
If you like floral tastes and enjoy recipes using syrups like lavender and rose (think a fancy gin and tonic), try making some crabapple blossom simple syrup.
Growing Your Own Starlite Crabapple Tree
The necessary steps to care for Starlite Crabapple Trees follow the same general instructions for planting other varieties of crabapples.
They prefer full sun and moist, fertile soil, with mulched beds to help retain moisture in the roots of the tree.
Water well for the first year or two to establish the tree, then reduce the frequency to watering only when needed in drier spells.
These trees are moderate, deciduous growers that are particularly low maintenance and tolerant of a lot of different soil conditions.
Fertilize your crabapple tree before the spring growth for the best results.
These fuss-free trees are so adaptable that they can even withstand city conditions! They are tolerant of urban air and soil and make great trees for small yard spaces.
Like many other crabapple tree varieties, the Starlite Crabapple Trees are extremely winter hardy, maintaining some level of ornamentation year round, whether that be white blooms, green leaves, or red berries.
Crabapple trees appreciate good pruning to stay healthy and productive.
Prune your tree in late winter after fruiting when all the leaves have fallen to prep it for spring growth.
You can also lightly prune your crabapple tree in early summer after the tree has blossomed to help take some weight off the branches before the fruit appears.
And lastly, you should prune the tree as needed to remove any diseased or damaged areas to prevent any issues from spreading to the whole tree or nearby plants.
Pests and Disease
The Starlite Crabapple Tree is a newer variety, often referred to as an upgraded version of the Spring Snow Crabapple Tree.
As such, the Starlite Crabapple has an advanced level of disease resistance compared to other varieties.
In particular, the Starlite Crabapple Tree is particularly resistant to apple scab disease.
However, if your Starlite Crabapple somehow falls victim to one of the many diseases that can plague ornamental or fruiting trees, careful pruning or chemical treatments are your best bet to combat the infection.
Another way to keep your crabapple tree safe is to surround it with other disease-resistant varieties.
The Starlite Crabapple is resistant to apple scab but not quite as tough against fire blight, cedar-apple rust, mildew, or cankers.
However, Adirondack Crabapples and Cardinal Crabapples do bode well against them. Planting these varieties together can help bolster your trees against most diseases.
Starlite Crabapples in Your Yard
Clearly, Starlite Crabapples have so many positive features and very few downsides. However, arguably the best trait of the Starlite Crabapple is its ability to attract pollinators.
Pollinators serve a crucial and essential function in our ecology. Without pollinators, humans and animals could not live on Earth.
Over 80% of all plants grown around the world require pollinators to survive and thrive, and one of every three bites of food we eat is a product of pollinators.
But, dwindling habitats and shrinking levels of biodiversity are severely impacting pollinator populations, which is why plants like the Starlite Crabapple are so important.
Starlite Crabapples and wide other varieties of crabapples attract birds, butterflies, and bees, some of the most prolific pollinators out there.
The tree gives them food to eat and places to mate and rest in return for their hard work of pollinating your yard and community.
Plant your crabapple trees alongside some lilac, lavender, Carpet Bugle, Butterfly Bushes, and Crape Myrtles to start building your own pollinator garden home!
In addition to their service to pollinators, Starlite Crabapples are very lawn-friendly and work great as a landscaping plant.
However, the dark fruit could stain lighter paved areas, so be cautious where you plant your tree!
Where to Buy Starlite Crabapple Trees
As typical of the crabapple tree family, most home gardeners buy their crabapple trees as young saplings.
It is rare to find Starlite Crabapple Tree seeds to purchase, and honestly, you wouldn’t want to grow them from seed anyway. It’s a much more labor-intensive, difficult process.
Light Up Your Yard With the Starlite Crabapple Tree
Though its foliage and berries are petite, the value a Starlite Crabapple Tree can bring to your yard is huge.
If you want out-of-this-world beautiful blooms that stand out from the crowd throughout the winter, try your hand at growing a Starlite Crabapple Tree.
For more information on the care and keeping of your crabapples, check out our post about Crabapple Trees.