Good trees for urban gardens: Crabapple in your future?

A mid-size white flowering crabapple.

Spring brings us so many flowering trees that it is hard to choose the best one for your garden

Flowering plums bring us early pink and white flowers, but their foliage after a brief showing of flowers is often disappointing.
Flowering cherries have most spectacular blossoms but are often prone to disease. They are not a good street tree. You can see some of the disappointing cherry trees on Main Street east of 9th Avenue.

Flowering crabapples, which bloom in late April and early May, are often a good choice. Look for the disease-resistant varieties and you will be rewarded. Their blooms are white, light or dark pink. Often their apples are decorative, which extends the period of interest. They will stay on the tree until early winter..

Several crabapple trees make good street trees. “Adirondack” is one of the best. Its high disease resistance and narrow growth habit (6 feet wide by 12 feet tall) make it a very good choice. It has crimson buds followed by clear white blossoms, which cover the branches.

Crabapples on an “Adirondack” tree.

See “Adirondack” at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in the narrow planting bed just south of the main building. It has stayed narrow since its planting by Edmonds in Bloom several years ago.

Another good choice is malus “Golden Raindrops,” with twinkly white blossoms and yellow apples with a slight red tinge, 10 feet tall.

A dwarf crabapple is malus toringo. Look for the dwarf Sargent’s crabapple “Tina,” 5 feet tall. It is very good for the smaller garden.

Malus “Red Jewel” has white flowers with red apples, which hang on until spring. It grows to 8 feet.

All these trees are good under power lines. Give them lots of sun to encourage their usual disease resistance in the Pacific Northwest.

Keep your eyes open for these lovely trees in gardens around town.

Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.

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