Prairie crabapple was once commonly found throughout the Midwest prairies and savannas. Spectacular in bloom, deep pink flower buds open to white flowers. Their fruit is popular with a myriad of wildlife. Unfortunately, prairie crabapple is susceptible to many foliar diseases.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- Under utility lines
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
- Summer blossoms,
- Edible fruit,
- Fragrant flowers,
- Showy flowers
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators
Tree & Plant Care
Crabapples are adaptable to most soil conditions but prefer full sun in moist, well-drained soil.
Light pruning may be required to keep plants healthy or correct structural problems. Thinning the crown allows light into center for better flowering.
Remove dead, diseased and crossing branches at any time.
Disease, pests, and problems
This species is very susceptible to rust. Other problems include fire blight, canker, borers and scale
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
This species has some resistance to scab.
Native geographic location and habitat
commonly found in a variety of habitats.
Bark color and texture
The bark is scaly and peeling, revealing the smooth inner bark.
Stems often have short thorns.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate, dark green leaves without or with three lobes. Leaf margins are doubly toothed.
If leaf diseases do not defoliate the tree, fall color will be red.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Pink buds open up to clusters of fragrant white or whitish pink flowers.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Fruits are yellow-green crabapples, about 1 inch in diameter.