The crabapple tree (Malus species) adorns yards and gardens with its spring blossoms and distinctive shape. Although sizes vary based on species and cultivar, most trees measure less than 25 feet with a similar width, with shrub cultivars also available. Spring blossoms range from snowy white to red, based on the species and cultivar, and mature into fruits in the summer. Although edible, crabapple fruits require cooking and sweetening. To enjoy its plentiful blossoms and fruits and to reduce risk of disease, you should properly fertilize your crabapple tree.
Things You'll Need
- Soil test kit
- Organic matter
- Nitrogen fertilizer (optional)
- Organic mulch
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Collect a soil sample and submit it for testing. Your local cooperative extension office can test your soil or recommend a private testing lab. Soil tests will determine the levels of organic matter and important nutrients, the soil pH and the soil texture and will provide fertilizer recommendations.
Incorporate organic matter, such as leaf litter or sphagnum peat moss, into the soil used to backfill the planting hole when planting your crabapple tree. Crabapple trees grow best in an acidic soil, and organic matter helps keep the pH at ideal levels.
Provide 2 to 3 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually if the previous season's growth measured 6 inches or less, or leaves appear undersized or pale. Generally, you do not need to fertilize crabapple trees in their first year, and their fertilizer requirements in subsequent years are moderate. If your soil test recommended a different nitrogen application rate, follow that instead. Following application instructions found on the packaging.