Malus baccata
Common Name: apple
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Northeastern Asia to northern China
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White flowers and red/yellow crabapples
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Air Pollution

Culture

Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, acidic loams in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Established trees have some drought tolerance. Although some flowers may be lost, it is best to prune this tree as needed in late winter. Spring pruning should be avoided as it produces fresh, open cuts where fireblight bacterium can enter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Malus baccata, commonly called Siberian crabapple, is an upright, deciduous, broad-rounded, flowering crabapple tree in the rose family that is native to mixed forests in Bhutan, India, Kashmir, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia (Siberia) and China. It typically grows to 30-40' tall (infrequently taller). It has been introduced into and has naturalized in parts of North America from Newfoundland to Ontario south to Missouri and Virginia. It has the best winter hardiness of any plant in the genus Malus (USDA Zone 2), resulting in frequent use of its rootstock in the hybridization process.

Reddish-brown flower buds form in early spring followed by a showy April-May bloom of fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers (1 1/2" wide). Flowers appear in 4-6 flowered corymbs. Flowers are followed by tiny red or yellow crabapples (to 5/8" diameter) which ripen in fall. Fruit is edible for humans. Birds are attracted to the fruit. Broad-elliptic leaves (to 3" long) have serrate margins. No appreciable fall color, with early fall leaf drop common. Purplish-brown bark.

Genus name from Latin is an ancient name for apple.

Specific epithet from Latin means berry-like.

Problems

Susceptibile to apple scab. Generally good disease resistance to the other main diseases of crabapples, namely, fireblight, cedar-apple rust and leaf spot. Potential insect pests are of lesser concern and include tent caterpillars, fall webworms, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers and scale. Spider mites may occur.

Garden Uses

This crabapple species is a large tree that will not comfortably fit into small gardens or landscapes. It is commonly grown as both an ornamental tree (showy flowers and red/yellow fruit) and for its rootstock (winter hardy to Zone 2). Street tree. M. baccata var. mandshurica is often used for bonsai.