CRABAPPLE TREES TODAY
Every crabapple tree that you can buy today, came from a 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. Many crabapple trees are grown for ornamental purposes or to be used for apple cider production. Many of these same varieties have been the only crab apples offered to wildlife and whitetail deer. Some drop early and some drop late which makes them useful for deer management but none came about with whitetails in mind!!
I have located, observed and sorted through 1000’s of wild crab apples with one thing in mind…..attracting and holding whitetail deer!! My observations focused on the traits of early producing, heavy fruit production, fast vigorous growth, extended bloom times, dependable fruit production, varied drop times, good taste, and most important deer usage!! I focused on trees that I wanted to bring back to my properties. Just like I learned with pears…If I concentrate a preferred soft mast at times 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 fruit and having trees that consistently produce every year. Crab apples will give you a huge advantage by providing consistent annual crops even in years when regular apples are not abundant in your surrounding area.
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BUDAGOVSKY 118 (Semi-dwarf)
This rootstock clone is a vigorous, early producer of the Minsk breeding program. B118 is more vigorous than the other clonal rootstocks, but still imparts the high degree of winter-hardiness zone 4a. It tolerates heavy soils, difficult conditions, is well anchored, and does not sucker.
B118 will produce a tree that’s 85%-90% of seedling size with a mature height of around 18′. This rootstock as well as other clonal rootstocks will remain in the upper profile of the soil. B118 is excellent when planting into improved soil either in food plots, or if you are looking for a well uniformed orchard.
Price per tree
These grafted trees will be 3-5′ in height and around 1/2″ in diameter. Retail price is $22.00 per tree. 10 grafted trees on a combined order will get 10% discount. 20 grafted trees on a combined order will receive 20% at check out.
MALUS DOLGO (Standard)
This rootstock is extremely cold hardy down well into Hardiness Zone 3, and is very comparable to Antonokva in many ways. It makes an excellent choice for wildlife trees, because it produces a full size 20’ to 30’ tree. Standard rootstock will develop deep roots making it extremely well anchored, penetrating well into the sub soil pulling up lost nutrients.
It is adaptable to many soil types and conditions especially well when planting in less desirable locations.
This could be used in areas such as wooded food plots, reclaimed land, shale mountain soil, dryer uplands and ridges. This Standard rootstock will also perform very well in improved soil in an orchard style setting. This seedling grown rootstock will have excellent vigor, as I am only grafting onto the most vigorous Malus Dolgo seedlings. For this reason, These trees on this rootstock will run slightly bigger than the trees grafted to Bud 118.
Plant at least 3 different apple varieties within close proximity to each other to ensure pollination. Grams Gift crabapple makes an excellent pollinator for both standard size apples and crabapples. All apples and crabapples should be planted in moist, well drained soil with a soil pH between 5.8 – 7 with adequate nutrient levels for optimal growth.
If you have not improved your soil I would recommend mixing 1/2 to 1 ounce of 0 20 20 granular fertilizer in your soil at the time of planting. The first number is the amount of nitrogen contained in the fertilizer. It is very important that the first number is 0 because nitrogen applied directly to the roots of the tree will cause death to your tree.
Nitrogen is very mobile in the soil and a small amount can be applied the following year if needed. The 2nd and 3rd numbers are Phosphorus and Potassium. They are basically immobile in the soil and need to be applied at or well before the time of planting.
A minimum of 6 hours of sunlight is necessary for growth and fruit production. For either rootstock selection, the recommended tree spacing is 20′. Cages of at least 5’ are highly recommended to ensure your deer eat your apples in a few years and not your trees this year!!