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The Sugar Tyme Crabapple Tree

If your yard is starting to look a little dull, it’s time for a colorful upgrade! A beautiful, disease-resistant, flowering Sugar Tyme crabapple tree could be the perfect solution.

This stunning small tree will give your yard color-changing leaves, bright white springtime flowers, and tiny red edible fruits. You can expect long-lasting beauty throughout three of the four seasons and plenty of pollinating visitors.

Keep reading to learn more about this tree’s specific characteristics and how to care for it in your yard.

Looking to buy a Sugar Tyme crabapple tree? Check availability.

Closeup of white flowers and pink buds on a crabapple tree.

History of the Sugar Tyme Crabapple Tree

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree is new to the crabapple market — it was developed in the 1980s. It was cultivated by Jim Zampini shortly after he became the owner of Ohio-based Lake County Nursery.

Because it’s a developed hybrid, you won’t find it growing natively anywhere.

Characteristics of the Sugar Tyme Crabapple Tree

This deciduous crabapple tree is much smaller than other crabapple tree varieties, standing at less than 20 feet. It’s the perfect option for people with small yards who still want a pop of color. The tree puts forth beautiful foliage, fragrant flowers, and cherry-like fruits to admire and use in your homemade recipes!

A small white flowering crabapple tree planted near other flowering trees.

Tree Qualities

Sugar Tyme crabapple trees only reach about 15-18 feet tall at full maturity and have up to a 15-foot spread. The leaves are green from the spring until fall, then turn into an eye-catching shade of gold.

During the springtime, you’ll notice buds emerging, which open up into pretty white springtime flowers. The buds will start with a pink tint, but the pink disappears once the flowers open up. Not only are the flowers pleasing to look at, but they’ll fill your yard with a sweet, floral scent!

Crabapple Qualities

Lots of tiny red Sugar Tyme crabapples covering a tree in the fall or winter.

The crabapples from this tree tend to be tiny, with diameters hovering between ½ inch and 1 inch. They’re closer to the size of the cherries. The coloring of these crabapples is actually similar to cherries as well. They start green and turn vibrant, glossy red by fall.

Eating Sugar Tyme Crabapples

Most people like these crabapples for ornamental purposes, but you can eat them if you’d like! However, they don’t taste that great when eaten raw. The best option is to cook them into something like a dessert or jam. Just don’t feed these fruits to your pets, as they are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

What Do They Taste Like?

These crabapples can be quite bitter and tart. They generally aren’t very palatable unless you cook them with sugar to help mellow them out.

Culinary Uses for Sugar Tyme Crabapples

Most people use these tart crabapples for jams, jellies, and sweet fruit-based desserts. Cooking or baking them is a must, as it helps get rid of some of the bitterness.

Sugar Tyme Crabapple Recipe Ideas

Here are some delicious recipes to try out with your Sugar Tyme crabapples:

Closeup of two glazed apple fritters.
Fritters made with crabapples are a fun variation on this traditional treat!

Health Benefits of Sugar Tyme Crabapples

Crabapples are chock full of antioxidants, including vitamin C, which your body needs for healing functions. So, the vitamin C from crabapples can bring you a whole list of health benefits, including the following:

  • It might be able to reduce your risk of cancer
  • It can reduce your risk or progression of age-related macular degeneration
  • It can shorten your cold and reduce its severity

Growing and Caring for Sugar Tyme Crabapple Trees

If you want to plant crabapple trees in your yard, the Sugar Tyme variety needs little to no maintenance. It is disease-resistant and drought-tolerant, so the tree only needs the basics like fertilizer and water. This is why it’s a good choice for those who might not have a green thumb or who tend to forget waterings.

If you’re new to fruit tree gardening, use the following information to help you start growing a crabapple tree.

Closeup of white crabapple blossoms.

Planting Zones

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4-7 but can handle zone 8 as well. There is a variety of weather and temperatures within these zones, showing that the tree can adapt to most climates.

Growing Season

Sugar Tyme crabapple trees have a growing season that starts in April and ends in November or December. Leaves and flowers begin growing in spring, while crabapples appear in the summer and ripen in the fall. The crabapples tend to hang on until the wintertime starts moving in, providing roughly eight months of beauty to your yard!

Size and Spacing

These trees have a maximum 15-foot spread. If you’re planting multiple Sugar Tyme trees, your minimum spacing should be 15 feet. However, to reduce the crowded look, increase spacing to 20 feet.

Soil Requirements

Sugar Tyme crabapple trees can adapt to many soil types. It prefers nutritious, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil if possible. Compost, manure, and fertilizers are great at providing nutrients if the tree needs them, while rocks can aid in drainage. If you live in an area with low soil acidity, try using a soil acidifier to lower the pH.

Sunlight Requirements

This crabapple tree variety requires full sun, meaning it needs about 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Select a planting site where your home or other structures aren’t blocking the sun.

Caring for Your Crabapple Tree

Branches of a crabapple tree covered with white blooms.

Watering Requirements

Ideally, this tree typically needs about 1-2 inches of water weekly. But because it’s drought-tolerant, it can handle a few missed waterings.


When it comes to fertilizing, this variety will only need it once a year. Fertilize in the springtime so it will have all the nutrients it needs for the beginning of the growing season. A slow-release flowering tree fertilizer should do the trick!


Sugar Tyme crabapple trees are self-fertile, so they can pollinate themselves. This means they don’t require pollination with other trees to produce fruit. However, planting more crabapple trees nearby might help increase fruit yields if you want more crabapples.


You should only prune this crabapple tree during the winter months when it’s dormant. This will be less stressful for the tree as diseases and pests aren’t an issue at this time of year. So they can’t injure or infect the open wounds caused by pruning.

Possible Diseases

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree’s resistance to most crabapple tree diseases makes it a popular choice with home gardeners. So, you won’t need to worry about treating it with fungicides or scrambling to prevent infections from spreading.

Possible Pests

Some crabapple tree pests you might come across include the following:

  • Caterpillars
  • Japanese Beetles – small beetles that’ll eat the leaves and fruits on your tree.
  • Aphids – minuscule bugs that feed on foliage, sucking out nutrients

If you see these bugs crawling on your tree or notice bite marks and eggs, you’ll need to act fast. Using neem oil insecticides can help treat these infestations.

When to Harvest Sugar Tyme Crabapples

Autumn is harvesting time for Sugar Tyme crabapples. You can pick them when they have a bright red coloring around the entire fruit.

Where to Buy a Sugar Tyme Crabapple Tree

Nature Hills Nursery photo of a white flowering Sugar Tyme crabapple tree.

Does the Sugar Tyme crabapple tree sound like a great fit for your yard? If so, we can point you in the right direction!

You can buy one of these beauties online from one of our favorite retailers, Nature Hills Nursery. Order yours in time for the upcoming planting season!

Wrapping Up the Sugar Tyme Crabapple Tree

Closeup of white Sugar Tyme crabapple blossoms.

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree is a hardy, low-maintenance tree that will put on a colorful three-season show in your yard. Its white springtime blooms, golden fall leaves, and vibrant red fruit will surely draw some attention!

Its drought tolerance and disease resistance means you’ll spend less time fussing over this tree and more time enjoying its beauty. Whether you have a green thumb or not, this tree makes a great addition to any garden.

Do you want to learn more about these flowering fruit trees? Check out our Crabapple Trees page for more information!