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The wanderer
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Does anyone know if they cross-pollinate, and if so, how far apart they should be?

Rabbits chewed all the bark off the bottom two feet of two of our apple trees the winter before last and the trees died. Little trees are coming up around the base of each one, and I've heard that they're going to be crabapple and not apple trees, because they're below the graft.

Will they produce actual crabapples? Should I leave them and let them grow? Will they hurt the production of real apples on our 6 other apple trees? :scratch
 

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Most apples need a different type of apple or crabapple to pollinate them properly.. Many of the orchards here to save room and grow more apple trees and still have good pollination will graft one branch in about every 5th tree with a crabapple. this ensures good cross pollination and fruit set.
I have an antique apple called Gravenstien and a yellow delicious. the gravenstien didn't make many apples till the baby yellow D started blooming.
Plus, many folks don't know this but good crabapples are great for making your own pectin for jams and jellies. and make a good jelly on their own.
 

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I am still going through trial and error as to which Apple varieties thrive in my niche of the world.

I rely on Mason bees here and they seem to be robust year after year.

I have found crabapples to be very drought, heat and cold tolerant here so I have started a number to (try to be) rock steady pollinator stock for the fruit trees.

That said, there are a large number of crabapple varieties and each interacts differently just as apples do, so I am a long way from figuring that out, I am just practicing trial and error.

I do like the idea of grafting of crabs onto apple stock. I will have to find out more about that!
 

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The wanderer
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh wow, I've never known any of that about crabapples and pollinating! I guess I should let these crabapples grow and see what happens.

We have 4 different kinds of apple trees, and when we bought them we ordered trees that would be hardy at least one zone colder than we're 'supposedly' in here. We're up the mountain several hundred feet above the valley near us, and it's hard to convince the plant nurseries that our season is so much shorter than where the post office is, 7 miles away.

In fact, it isn't the cold so much as the short number of growing days that hurts our fruit trees. Nothing leafs out here until around the first of June. My apple trees blossom around the second week of June (this year they were a week later than that). Often the bees aren't out and about much yet, though we've played with hand-pollinated. More often than not the blossoms get a good freeze and we lose most of them.

By the first of September we're getting frost most nights and leaves are turning yellow. The few apples we had on the trees last year got some freeze damage before we realized what was happening.

Lots to learn, and I'm not sure we'll ever get much from them. On the other hand, all berries thrive up here!

Thanks for the information. I was worried about having a bunch of stunted apples if they pollinated with crabapples. I'm really interested in the idea of using the crabapples for pectin! I didn't know that.
 

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I'll have to see if I can find the thread on making pectin at Idig and see if the OP will let me copy paste it here.. it works with quince/apples/crabapples.
and on the matter of frost threat on bloom time... just take old tin coffee tins and put large candles in (depending on size of tree) you put a few of these around the base of the tree usually about midnight cuz around here that is when it starts to really get chilly and light them I have also put just light tarps over the tops of the trees too, to hold in the heat.
I have heard of folks getting good results with big hot water jugs under the tree.
Same in the fall.
but if apples are close to being ripe they can be picked early and left to ripen in storage.
But you would have better luck with an early ripening apple- my gravinstiens will start ripening in late august and finish in about the 2nd week of September. they are a bit mealy and are usually used(or used to be used) for apple sauce and apple butter. Mine would be better if I pruned the giant tree and used my organic sprays on it. or at least used the Japanese method of stapling small white paper bags to each and every apple only taking them off the last week to get the apple to color properly. small mini trees that would be fine but for big trees or multiple trees.. not so much...
 

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Thread :bump:

I have a crabapple that sets a lot of 1 to 1 1/2 inch fruit, but no matter when I pick they are very astringent. Not sour, but an intense, mouth drying attribute that I don't like at all. I tried using a lot of sugar but didn't help much.

I'm not really familiar with crabapples and this is the only one I've had. Is this how they all are? Is crabapple jelly an acquired taste? Can someone recommend a better tasting variety? I have no clue to the variety I have now.

If their only use would be for pectin, would coring and drying for storage retain the pectin?

Thanks for any insight.
 

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I sold my soul to the internet
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Anyone use this crabapple?
I am planting apples for the South, that will ripen in June, July, August, September,October & November.
These are different trees, but I found this cultured Crabapple:
Hewes Crab

Hewes Crab (Virgina Crab): This apple originated in Virginia, most likely during the early 1700’s. Its taste is unique. In most of the south, it is the finest cider apple. It makes a dry cider that is usually mixed with other varieties.Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson knew this apple’s qualities quite well. The fruit is very small, green with a dull red, and a flesh that is firm and acidic. Ripe in September.

This is a large crabapple, but a small apple, about 1 1/2 inch Fruit.
 
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