Profusion Crab Apple Tree

LindaMA(MA z5)March 26, 2012

I just purchased a Profusion Crab Apple Tree to put in the area where a 40 foot pine tree fell this past fall when a hurricane blew through here. I had the tree removed and supposedly the trunk had been grounded down in order to plant an ornamental tree in this area. Now, as I've been digging into this hole this past week, I find that the stump is still in the ground, about 1-2 feet down below the surface. So now, I'm looking at another area and would like to know just how deep I would have to go. My soil is clay but I've been told that crab apples do well in most soils. I plan to go wide, about 3-4 feet around but don't really have the option of going as deep as the area where the pine tree was located.

Also, would it be wise for me to add compost to the area around the roots of this tree? Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. It's a pretty good size tree, so I'll most likely have a hard time planting it. I plan to have it delivered, placed near the hole so I can just roll the tree in.

Any thoughts?

Thanks - Linda

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey linda..

our bible.. by brandon ... is at the link ...

we do NOT favor amending the soil

and we do NOT dig deep ...

and i think 3 feet is a bit overkill ..

also.. in planting in CLAY.. we tend to plant high .. or only about half the pot into the clay.. and the rest atop ... with good soil covering the rest.. again.. at the link ...

the grinding sounds about par for the course ... they really cant go much deeper ... and you do have to find a spot off to the side.. rather than EXACTLY where the old tree was ...

and i do NOT think it would be wise to plant on top of buried wood.. because .. as it rots.. it will steal water. and use nitrogen.. and probably not make for a happy crab ...

review the link.. and hit us with some specific questions ..

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:23PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd say go ahead and make the hole as wide as you want to, but only as deep as it needs to be for the plant to sit a bit higher than true grade. Don't add amendments of any kind. Measure the root ball carefully before 'rolling it into' the hole.

While it's true that most plants can do just fine in clay soil, it depends on if that site drains well. I have very hard clay soil, but (fortunately for us) it drains just fine. Anything that we've ever planted has thrived.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:44PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Unfortunately, my husband went ahead and dug the hole deeper than where I had it at 2 feet. then threw the sand at the bottom and got the tree in the hole, all before I got back from the store with some top soil and composted manure.

Well I don't have to tell you that all we did was fight all day, eventually he went in the house which was fine with me. Now, due to this crab apple being at least 10 feet tall with a huge base, I could not pull it out, so I threw more soil in the hole. A mixture of what good soil was left from the hole, along with top soil and composted manure. I didn't want to put the clay soil back in there, it was gray in color, I didn't have much choice. I also pulled a ton of rocks and some boulders out of this hole, so there wasn't a lot of regular soil left. Yes, we have horrible soil in this area, most homes are built on slate and clay. Over the past 4-5 years, I've amended my perennial bed to the point where the plants are thriving in that soil.

So now the tree is in the ground and it's even with the grade, believe me, I wanted it higher, I kept trying to move the tree back and forth in order to get the dirt under and the tree so it would come up higher, it worked a little but not much. At the end I watered it but now it's not draining well. So now, I would welcome any suggestions on what I can do, if anything, to help the area around the tree drain better.

Why do all these people that work at garden centers, push amending the hole so much; could it be due to the high clay content of this area? Would it be okay to add a little sand to the the top layer of soil around the tree? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I value the opinion of those on this board.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Linda said "Why do all these people that work at garden centers, push amending the hole so much; could it be due to the high clay content of this area?"

It's called sales - when I was in the Garden Center business the sales staff was encouraged to equal the price of the plant with related items - soil amendments, fertilizers, sprays, etc. And I'm sure it's still the same today.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

This operation has two problems that pop up immediately. First, 'Profusion' is an older, not particularly disease-resistant variety. You should have ended up with a more modern, less prone kind. Secondly, none of those additives should have gone into the planting hole.

Buying such a huge specimen was probably not the best move either. Already you have seen that you are not able to pop it out of the hole and plant it correctly.

All you can do now is mulch it, stake it and keep it watered, as needed. Don't be surprised if it shows some leaf disease problems later in the season.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 1:32PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

bboy, I was trying to stay away from the larger fruit crab-apples that create a huge mess under the tree and in the yard. So I thought I was doing good when I found the Profusion variety due to them having berries and not crab-apples. I'm kicking myself now, I thought I did all my homework but boy was I wrong. Two of my neighbors have the variety that I'm talking about, the pink/white blossoms with the larger crab-apples and both of their trees are growing very nicely.....they too amended their soil.

Marshall, the guy at the garden center was not trying to push their soil amendments on me, in fact, they don't even have anything at the present time, they're still getting stock in. If he had, I would have known something was up! I do agree with you about most of the garden centers though, however, this dude tried to help out as much as he could. I'm still new at this and I guess that old "live and learn" adage is looming over my head. I'm very sad now that I know I have most likely killed my tree and that there isn't anything I can do about it. I tried to save money, rather than have pros come out and plant it for me.

If I had the money now, could I have a professional come out and replant it for me or is that a poor decision? I'm just curious.

Thank you both.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:33PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

FWIW, I don't trust "professionals". All you have to do is look around at all the plants improperly planted, mulch volcanoes, etc etc. Most are monkey's with a shovel IMHO. Doing your homework is your best professional, even then, there is lots of wrong data, where someone has an agenda.

As for "killed" the tree, maybe not. How long has it been in the ground now? You can probable just replant it properly and give it a reasonable chance.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Yes, your lingo is too extreme! You haven't killed it nor have you failed miserably. What B is saying is that there are other crab varieties that have disease resistance and nice small fuit. For that matter, I always select one with "persistent fruit". These varieties typically hold onto their fruit for months, and if well selected, will provide far more aesthetic attributes than even the most glorious spring flower show. Ideally, as in the cultivar 'Red Jewel', the fruits remain in good condition right up until the new growth finally gives them the heave-ho. Sometimes, a passing flock of migrating birds finish them off too.

Crabs are something to get passionate about. They can be so great.......or so lousy......depending on initial selection!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:18PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Arktrees - Thank you for your input, hopefully I have not done too much harm to this tree. It's been in the ground for two full days now and unless I want to pay $200 to have it dug up and replanted, moving it is not an option for me, it's too heavy for me. It is about 10 ft, but that's just a couple of branches sticking straight up due to being tied for a while. No it's not extremely large, it's a very good size, but heavy for me. Can it be replanted after being in the ground for a couple of days? FWIW, I have a call in to the UMass Extension service, to see just how well the Profusion crabapple does in my area. I've heard that they do well around here but I would prefer to hear it from the extension service.

+oM, interesting signature.....I have learned from this mistake and believe me, it will not happen again. Maybe when I get a little more money, I will look into getting a better crabapple, one that is more disease resistant, and smaller so I can manipulate it better by myself when planting. I've longed for a crabapple for so long, I could kick myself for not being more diligent when looking for a good variety.

I have one more delimna and that is what type of mulch to buy. I want to go out and get some today but want to make sure I get a decent type. All the mulch in this area is bagged, either, red cedar, pine, hemlock, black, etc.... I have been leaning toward hemlock. I would love to get shredded bark but I can't find it around here.

Thank you, I really appreciate your input.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Linda, any of those mulch types will work just fine. It's just down to what you like best on that.

I applaud your quest for a good flowering crab. IMO, still the best all-around small to medium sized ornamental tree for the north. Also, "Profusion" is itself a good tree, just not particularly disease resistant. Making matters worse in that regard, some varieties of crabs that were formerly considered disease resistant are now not on that list. The pathogens themselves evolve over time, infecting things they didn't formerly. So you just take your best shot and live with it.

Let us know, if you would, what the experts in your area say about the Profusion's disease resistance. It varies by region.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 5:11PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

I called the Agricultural Landscape Tree and Shrub Diagnostic Center at the UMass Extension, which isn't too far from where I live. The man I spoke with was very forthcoming with information and told me that the profusion crabapples in this area don't do badly at all and that he isn't too concerned with the fact that I amended the soil, but did say that he doesn't recommend it.

He did go on to say that if I had a lot of clay in my soil then it wasn't a bad idea to amend it somewhat, rather than planting the tree in cement. Funny, that's just what my soil looks like too; it very light gray in color and looks just like pliable cement. This is the soil that is down about 2 feet.

He told me that he's more concerned about us having a dry spring and that I should make sure that I give the tree a good watering at least once a week but if I see pooling, then to make sure I don't over water it due to poor drainage.

Hopefully, this tree will make it,but if it doesn't, I'll have a good idea why and I'll go on and chuck it up to experience......a lesson learned. I'd like to thank everyone for giving me your honest opinion.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Yes Linda, you will probably have a nice tree there. I don't agree with the extension guy's reasoning-that if your soil is clay, then the amendment probably wouldn't hurt matters. Just the opposite-if you've dug a hole in clay soil and now backfill with a highly amended soil, that is the very recipe for drainage problems in that spot. The surrounding soil can act like a "bathtub", only allowing water to drain away very slowly. Plus, you don't want to make things so "good" right in that little tiny area of backfill that the tree has trouble sending roots out and away from that spot. They need to grow out into a large area, not spend all their time in the backfill area.

But, what's done is done. It may well be just fine. I wouldn't personally mess with it any more.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 7:54PM
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I know the kind of clay you are talking about. It's not just clay soil but horse-shoe grade clay. You can literally throw pots with it.

Look around you. If you see trees growing, then you can surmise that a tree can indeed grow in clay. I wouldn't mess with it any more either. BTW, adding sand to clay soil makes fine cement. Not recommended. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:00PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Calliope and +oM, I have not done anything further to this area, no sand, no more digging, it is what it is. I did get some mulch from Maine and added that around the tree.

I do have other shrubs and trees growing in my yard and they are doing pretty well. I purchased a Kousa Satomi Dogwood about 3-4 years ago and planted it out in front of my house and did amend the soil. The first year it did okay, the 2nd year it didn't do well at all and I almost took it back due to it having a 3 year warranty, but I didn't, and the 3rd year (last summer) it put on a very nice show and the blossoms lasted for a good 3 weeks, I was very impressed. It still has a ways to go.

I also have 3 Virburnums that are doing great, some Rhododendrons, rosebushes, 3 hydrangea, loads of clematis'(my favorite perennials) and lots of other plants and all are growing very well. With all of them, I have amended my soil. I now know that it isn't the thing to do and will not do it again, from here on, it will be less work for me, which I truly welcome. I am fortunate to have gone this far without having any real issues.

Thanks again for all your help.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Linda, just so's we're clear-amending soil that needs it is a great practice. What isn't great is amending a tiny little area of soil that is the backfill for a new transplant. In fact, your Kousa dogwood tale could almost be interpreted as the very account of how this can go awry...and then in some cases, get better again as the tree finally outgrows that backfill soil successfully! Know what I'm saying......?


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:27PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Yes, I do know what you are saying, and I thought the same thing regarding the Kousa Satomi dogwood; that maybe it has grown beyond the amended area and is now doing better.

Hopefully the crabapple will do the same, although, the soil around the area of the profusion crabapple has been amended every year for the past 5 years, due to my having a lot of different flowers and small shrubs growing in that area.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 1:25PM
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