Crab apples!!

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GeneDaniels1963

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Just picked a 5 gal bucket full of Russet crabs. Just washed them and tomorrow will freeze them. I add juice from 2-3 lbs per gal of cider and it really improves store bought juice. I plan to make a batch of graff including them in a week or so.

the tree is near a highway that they are widening. Each year I think will be the last for that tree. But each year the road work is in a different area. I hope it last a couple more years because I will have my own crabs soon since I planted a tree last spring.

Next I am planting an "Arkansas Black" apple tree. They say it makes a really fine cider, even by itself.
 

blasterooni

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Crabs are hard to come by in my area, glad you have one planted! I may plant an apple tree in place of the peach tree that was cut down this year from disease. I live in a rental, BUT, if I plant a tree and I know what it is, in the future if I dont live here I'll know of at least one tree that I can get some fruit from. Now that I'm thinking of it, a crabapple might be the BEST choice. The only thing is that in Oakland, they don't do well, and take some care and tending to keep them healthy... Sorry, on my second pint of cider, kind of rambling it seems. Maybe a bitter-sharp apple might be a good idea
 

gregbathurst

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You should save some seeds to grow some new crab apple trees. Crab apples come sort-of true from seeds but you will get variation. The seeds just need cold treatment for 6 weeks to get them to germinate.
 

MarkKF

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I wonder if you can plant crabs on a trellis like modern apple trees.

What do you need to pollinate a crab tree?
 
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GeneDaniels1963

GeneDaniels1963

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The one I planted is on grafted root stock. I wanted something a little smaller than a standard so it would take less room and be easier to pick. I've a back back and don't like using ladders.
 
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GeneDaniels1963

GeneDaniels1963

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I wonder if you can plant crabs on a trellis like modern apple trees.

What do you need to pollinate a crab tree?
Many are self pollinators. You just have to read up on the variety before planting
 

One Eye Ross

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My crab died off at the scion a few years ago, and the root stock started shooting out. I let it grow to see what I would get. Got a fair amount of fruit this year, seems to be a Winter Banana flavor. Nice apple. Next when, when I have my crusher and press, looking forward to adding it to the summer apple and others I have.
 

blasterooni

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You should save some seeds to grow some new crab apple trees. Crab apples come sort-of true from seeds but you will get variation. The seeds just need cold treatment for 6 weeks to get them to germinate.
So, i could cold-stratify by placing them in the fridge for 6 weeks, germinate, and plant? Wonder how many years til it will produce fruit?
 

gregbathurst

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So, i could cold-stratify by placing them in the fridge for 6 weeks, germinate, and plant? Wonder how many years til it will produce fruit?
Yes, I put seeds in a plastic bag with damp sand, you could use perlite or anything like that. After 6 weeks or so the seeds produce white roots and then you can plant them in a pot, an 8" plastic pot is good. Plant them out after a year or so. If they grow well in good soil they should produce a small crop in 5 years, after 10 years you can get 50kg per tree or more. Crabs often flower profusely and produce large crops of small, sweet apples.
 

madscientist451

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You should save some seeds to grow some new crab apple trees. Crab apples come sort-of true from seeds but you will get variation.
Hmmm...."sort of true"? I've saw a video somewhere that said even if you carefully pollinate apple blossoms there are 10,000+ possible combinations and you have no way of knowing what you'll get. That number sounds like an exaggeration to me, but since it takes so long to get fruit, If you find an apple variety you like, take a cutting in the winter and graft it.
 

MarkKF

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I wanna plant crabs in my front yard. These are supposed to be great for cider and self pollinating. Anyone have any experience?
IMG_2597.JPG
 

gregbathurst

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Hmmm...."sort of true"? I've saw a video somewhere that said even if you carefully pollinate apple blossoms there are 10,000+ possible combinations and you have no way of knowing what you'll get. That number sounds like an exaggeration to me, but since it takes so long to get fruit, If you find an apple variety you like, take a cutting in the winter and graft it.
Well raising apples from seed isn't for everyone, it's just a fun project if you have some land and lots of time, and it's pretty much free. As I said there is some variation but the progeny will be pretty similar to the parents in most cases. I have raised about 30 crab seedlings, many of them very useful for cider and one tree that makes really fantastic cider, as good as any proper cider tree. They are all very ornamental.
 

madscientist451

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I have some older crab apples that don't produce a whole lot, saving seed and growing them is interesting, but I suppose I just don't have enough time left to really get too excited about doing that. If I find a tree to graft I can get fruit in maybe 3 -5 years.
 

blasterooni

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I would love to grow a tree from seed, and i may just do it for the fun of it. However, i live in a rental, and who knows how long ill be here. Nevertheless, it'll be a tree that someone might enjoy, who knows, might even be me one day :)
 

cidergoats

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I found a lone wild crab, Malus coronaria, on my property and decided to grow some from seed. I had the time, the curiosity, and have the land to plant them on when they grow. The variety is known to be self-fertile and this one is fairly isolated. This was the third year for the seedlings and the tallest is maybe 24". It will probably be at least another 4 to 5 years before they are ready to bear fruit. The seedlings themselves appear true to type - susceptible to powdery mildew, cedar-apple rust, and I suspect scab as well. They, like their parent, will go to the back corner of the property to keep the diseases they are prone to away from my other, grafted trees. When and if they bear fruit it will still be a welcome addition to my cider.

The only sure way to get true to type fruit is to graft. Grafting also provides more predictable results in size and disease resistance, depending on the rootstock.
 

cottonwoodks

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I wonder if you can plant crabs on a trellis like modern apple trees.

What do you need to pollinate a crab tree?
They'll pollinate with any apple, within a pretty broad radius, so if there are honeybees around, they'll most likely get pollinated from other crabs or apples anywhere in the neighborhood.
 

gregbathurst

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I found a lone wild crab, Malus coronaria, on my property and decided to grow some from seed. I had the time, the curiosity, and have the land to plant them on when they grow. The variety is known to be self-fertile and this one is fairly isolated. This was the third year for the seedlings and the tallest is maybe 24". It will probably be at least another 4 to 5 years before they are ready to bear fruit. The seedlings themselves appear true to type - susceptible to powdery mildew, cedar-apple rust, and I suspect scab as well. They, like their parent, will go to the back corner of the property to keep the diseases they are prone to away from my other, grafted trees. When and if they bear fruit it will still be a welcome addition to my cider.

The only sure way to get true to type fruit is to graft. Grafting also provides more predictable results in size and disease resistance, depending on the rootstock.
When you are growing native trees there is a lot more than just the fruit. You are providing shelter and habitat for native animals, and conserving natural heritage. You are even helping with climate change. Native trees are usually grown from seed, to encourage genetic diversity.
 
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