A friend of mine joined the National Arbor Day Foundation last spring and had them send me 10 free trees (bare root). They have a number of packages and I think she picked the flowering trees.
I planted a couple up the hill, then potted the others in native soil. They are doing well on my patio for the moment. One poor little Sargent Crabapple was left in a jar of water inside my house. It put out leaves but not roots.
Yesterday I planted this poor thing at the edge of my Food Forest. It has been raining ever since so maybe it will put out some roots and grab on.
Sargent Crabapple is only going to get 6-8 feet tall here. I had some of these in Texas, also from the NADF. They are native to Japan but are in gardens all over the USA. They are widespread because they are easy to grow and bird watchers especially like it to attract birds. I planted one in my mom’s bird garden for her. She would not let me pick any fruit though! All for her birds and none for her children….
NADF recommends it for wildlife and everything seems to eat it. It is, after all, a member of the rose family. This would be a nice small tree for the chicken run. A bit of shade in the summer, fruit in season, and dried fruit still on the tree late in the season. My girls are Barred Rock and fly better than expected so might perch as well.
I hope it grows well on the hill above my sunken garden (in process) because it is covered in masses of white blooms in May. That should be late enough to miss the hard frosts which decimate our fruit crops here in the New Mexico mountains. It has pinyons and junipers guarding it’s north side and has a southern exposure. We’ll see.
Crabapples are small and nutrient dense so don’t let the wildlife scarf them all down. They are tart but make tasty apple jelly. Like all apples they are rich in pectin and can be added to other jellies instead of market economy pectin. I like it mixed with Elderberry or rose hips or blackberries. My favorite is whichever one I am eating at the moment. I don’t have an apple press or I would make apple cider. I have read that crabapples make the best. It is on that long market economy list!
I have two others still in large pots. It has rained so much I am not sure if I will get them in the ground this year, the rain is never ending it seems. My rain gauge shows I have had at least 8 inches this past month. I am thrilled, it is a good year to plant trees. If you hope to plant trees without supplemental watering in the dry western USA, a wet year is best to get them started. Fall is preferred so they have a chance to grow roots before our harsh summer. Last, plant during our summer monsoons. Monsoon being melodramatic for 2 inches a month.