I have located, observed, and sorted through 1000’s crabapple trees with one thing in mind. Attracting and holding whitetail deer!! My observations focused on the traits of early production, heavy fruit production, vigorous growth, extended bloom times, dependable fruit production, various drop times, good taste, and most crucial, deer usage!! I focused on trees I wanted to graft (genetic clone) and plant on my properties. Crabapple trees like the Road Kill Crab™ in the picture to the right or below. Trees such as this one and many other available crabapple trees are truly some of the best for wildlife if you like heavy and consistent fruit production with an attractive taste. Click Here or on that little blue button that says online shop to see all varieties of crabapple varieties.
WHY PLANT CRABAPPLE TREE’S FOR DEER
Just like I learned with pears. If I concentrate on a preferred soft mast when no one else has any, I could attract and hold many deer on my property. This was accomplished by providing early and late dropping crabapples and having trees consistently produced yearly. Crabapple trees will give you a considerable advantage by providing consistent annual crops even in years when regular apples are not abundant in your surrounding area.
Every crabapple tree today came from seed at one time. Some are results of a chance seedling many years ago or are from someone’s breeding efforts. The crabapple trees with desired characteristics began being cultivated through grafting to be identical and to have the same genetic traits. As with full-size apples, you can’t plant a crabapple seed and get the same crabapple tree.
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Road Kill Crab™
Price per tree
$19.95 - $34.95
2-3′ ( 3/8″ dia.) These trees will have a good root system. They will be whips around 3′ high with a trunk diameter of 3/8″.
3-5′ ( 1/2” dia.) These trees will have a good root system with some possible branching but will mainly be whips. They will range in height between 3′ to 5′ with around a 1/2″ trunk diameter.
4-6′ (+ 1/2” dia.) These trees will have an extensive root system and typically have multiple branches, but many will be solid whips. They will range in height between 4′ and 6′ with a 1/2″ to 3/4″ trunk diameter.
The rootstock used to graft our crabapple trees is a standard rootstock called Malus Dolgo. Malus Dolgo is extremely cold hardy, vigorous and certified virus-free. This rootstock is an excellent choice for wildlife trees because it produces a full-size 20′ to 30′ tree. Producing a full-sized tree for wildlife means much more fruit on a given tree. Malus Dolgo rootstock will develop deep “Real roots,” making it exceptionally well anchored, penetrating well into the subsoil, pulling up lost nutrients, and therefore making Malus Doglo rootstock very drought tolerant. Malus Dolgo is an excellent all-around rootstock for wildlife plantings.
This standard-size rootstock is adaptable to many soil types and conditions, especially when planting in less desirable locations. Therefore, with its full vigor, it can be used in areas that were wooded and are now food plots, reclaimed land, shale mountain soil, dryer uplands, and ridges. Malus Dolgo rootstock will also perform well in improved soil in an orchard-style setting. We are only grafting onto the most vigorous Malus Dolgo roots grown in a given year. When grafting onto the top 30% of seedlings grown, you get a rootstock that is about 40% more vigorous than many clonal stocks used for wildlife trees today. Malus dolgo is a crabapple rootstock and is very precocious, with many trees producing very quickly and making Malus Dolgo an all-around great rootstock for wildlife plantings.
PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR CRABAPPLE TREES
Plant at least two different apple, apple crabs, or crabapple cultivars within proximity to each other for pollination. All white flowering crabapple cultivars or varieties will give your apple crab tree good pollination. Grams Gift, Golden Hornet, Chestnut Crab, are excellent pollinators for apple trees, but all the crabapples we sell are white flowering. Plant all apples, apple crab, and crabapples in moist, well-drained soil with a soil pH between 5.8 – 7 with adequate nutrient levels for optimal growth.
If you have not completed a soil test, click here and improve your soil. I would highly recommend doing so. However, if you are not going to, I would recommend mixing 1 ounce for every three sq ft of 0-20-20 granular fertilizer in your soil at the time of planting. The first number tells you the percentage of nitrogen contained in the fertilizer. Nitrogen applied directly to the tree’s roots will cause death to your tree. Make sure the first number is zero or slow-release like osmocote.
Nitrogen is very mobile in the soil, and You can apply a small amount of nitrogen the following year as needed. The 2nd and 3rd numbers are Phosphorus and Potassium. Apply these two nutrients at or well before planting because they are immobile in the soil. Mix them through the soil. We recommend completing a soil test and making amendments for best results.
Crabapple trees require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight for growth and fruit production. Space trees 20′ apart and use at least 5′ cages to protect your trees. This protection will ensure your deer eat your fruit in a few years and not your trees this year.