Malus with Good Reliable Fall Color?

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)November 19, 2009

I know fall color can be quite variable, but are there any Malus cultivars you'd suggest that typically have good reliable fall color?

Needs to have very good to excellent resistance to rust and scab. I hate those varieties that look crabby in late summer, pun intended.

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I have found Prairiefire to be pretty good. This year, in particular, it turned a beautiful orange combined with the dark red fruit. No disease issues here in MN.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 6:50AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Malus ÂSchmidtcutleafÂ
Golden Raindrops® Crabapple
Might be worth considering.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 7:06AM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Another vote for Prairie Fire. I have one that turns a nice fluorescent orange every year and it looks great against the dark red fruit. The bloom color is dark pink and the new foliage is a dark reddish-purple that matures to a dark green. It's very resistant to most of the diseases that plague crabapples. It's a winner.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 7:55AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I'll put Paririe Fire on the list. It must be readily planted in the area for a reason. How persistant is the fruit? Is it gone by December, earlier, later?

So if there are any Malus experts out there a variety that exists with these specs?

Foilage - Light to mid-green foilage
Fall Color - Showy
Fruit - bright and persistant through at least mid-winter
Disease Resistance - Excellent for canker, scab and rust
Size - Any, but bigger the better
Flower Color - Any, just consistent and showy

I believe Prairefire meets all these with the exception of the darker foilage and fruit (not sure about its persistance though)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 9:47AM
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Not all crabs will color up equally as well in fall. 'Prairie Fire' is one of the better ones for that effect. If you prefer a white flowering selection with deep, glossy green summer foliage, then I'd suggest 'Donald Wyman' - rated very highly for disease resistance, very profuse bloomer, very persistent fruit and ambery-gold fall color.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 10:37AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

thanks for adding locale ....

leaf color change is short lived.. transitory ...

IMHO... go with winter fruit color.. as the fruits hang there near all winter .... i have both yellow and red ones out there right now...

much longer show than leaf change ...

i think the birds wait until they ferment next spring.. so they can get a good buzz off them, to celebrate spring ...


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:55AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Donald Wyman' was determined to be moderately suscepible (3.2 on a scale of 1 to 5) to scab in Skagit Co., WA.

There are probably similar reports on the internet and/or in print of flowering crabapple trial results originating in your region.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crabapples for Western Washington Landscapes - eb1809

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:11PM
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Maybe the attached link will help you with your decision :-) It rates some of the huge number of popular cultivars on appearance, fruit retention and disease resistance. Fall color is not specifically noted unless it stands out -- most don't. Like Ken, I'd be selecting a flowering crab based primarily on flowering attributes, in-season appearance of foliage/disease resistance and fruit retention - any fall color would just be an added bonus.

Here is a link that might be useful: crab apples rated

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:27PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Excellent links, thank you.

Yeah I just took a walk and noticed some really nice bright red fruits on several CAs. Some had dark red fruits, which were very blah.

At this point fall color will be a bonus.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:31PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

While we're at it, we might as well add this link. It's a study of pest & disease resistance for many varieties:

Here is a link that might be useful: University of KY study of Flowering Crabapples

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 2:55PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

After 40 years Donald Wyman is still looking good at this point.

Other suggestions still welcomed, can't get the tree till spring.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:00PM
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My Prairiefire usually gets picked clean by Christmas, but the fruit would persist otherwise. Agree the dark red fruit, such as on Prairiefire, is not the showiest.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:23PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Well I thought I was set with the Donald Wyman...but I want to get a crabapple closer to the patio to enjoy the winter fruit.

New Specs...

Excellent disease resistance
Bright, persistant red fruit
Height, at least 12', but no max.
Width, at least 10' but no more than 15'

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 7:50PM
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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Though you've often commented that WI/IL nurserymen don't know anything (you're wrong, but who's counting) - you should really consult what the fine tried and true growers right in your neighborhood are growing.

That would be folks like Johnson's Nursery and Beaver Creek Nursery. They have good selections out in their fields, and one could take a stroll through there and see just how the plants are performing. Additional sites to peruse would include the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL and the Chicago Botanic Garden. A little further afield, but close to you anyway, are the collections at the Boerner Botanic Garden in Milwaukee and the arboretum at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (Langenecker or some such). The newest arb up that way (that I haven't had the pleasure to visit) is the arboretum in Rockford IL.

The reports from widely different climates are only generally useful in a specific locale. You should tap into your local Cooperative Extension Service reports on crabapples, and up the ante by what you see with your own eyes at sites such as listed.

With thousands of crabapples hybridized, and the extreme variations in local climates (western WA reports really mean nothing in southeast WI), information and experience from nearby should trump the rest.

Now - my real opinion: you can't go wrong with almost any of the Father Fiala selections, many of which are being produced by Beaver Creek Nursery. I have about 15 of these selections that I'm trialing down here in central KY. An exuberant enthusiast would invest in Fiala's fine tome, Flowering Crabapples: The Genus Malus, and while away Wisconsin wintry weather with this wisdom...

I really like these offerings:

*'Cardinal's Robe'
*'Red Peacock'
*'Little Troll'
*'Full Sails'
*'Sinai Fire'
*'Satin Cloud'
*'Silver Cloud'

There are so many more...

Here is a link that might be useful: Flowering Crabapples: The Genus Malus

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 8:43PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Good suggestions on visiting the Botanic gardens. I go to the Chicago one 2x a year. Its where I get my ideas. I just haven't looked at the crabapples closely.

Beaver Creek is a wholesale grower. Retail customers have to go through Kelm mail order...their prices are OUT OF CONTROL. Unless its a very hard to find plant, its probably on par with other mail order.

Johnsons Nursery is one of my favorite nurseries. Right down the road. Unfortunately they push whatever they have high inventories of, which is typically the generic overplanted plants. OR they push their introductions...which makes sense, higher margins.
You have to know your stuff when you go in there. I always have to push them to suggest something outside the box.

As far as your cultivar suggestions I found a couple promising Cardinal's Robe.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 9:49AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Sage advice from many above, but viburnumvalley's alliteration was pure poetry.

"...while away Wisconsin wintry weather with this wisdom..."


    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:33PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Few of the selections you suggest seem to have been extensively trialed. Only bits and pieces of information on their performance appear readily available. A few seem not to even have complete physical descriptions available online. Do you know more about them than what I can find online. I've found this thread very educational and it's lead me to further research crabapples, but I'm not satisfied with what I find regarding the selections you mentioned.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:56PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

P.S. ... I'm also interested in the disease resistance of each of these cultivars. In my area, we have to deal with all four of the major Malus disease issues (FB, CAR, Scab, & PM) as well as those ravenous Japanese Beetles.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 8:00PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Check out the link that Viburnumvalley posted.

Sign into amazon, you can view the book and get info on the cultivars. Its not totally complete, but none the less good info.

Viburnumvalley, I do have the same questions as brandon7.

I plan to touchbase with Johnsons to get some info as well. They have a few of those cultivars growing in their fields, available for spring.

Brandon7, we have all the same issues in WI. PM and FB might not be "as" previlant.

I should mention that I have a Coralburst. Flowered wonderfully the last 2 years. Foilage is clean and dense. Fruit set is minimal...but its only a 3ft tree at this point. Fruit set may improve.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 8:44PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Already checked the book at the link out. It gives some info, but not nearly enough for me to base a purchasing decision on.

I'm wondering how VV chose these particular varieties.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 10:04PM
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Brandon, you've gotta have faith.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 10:12PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I like to see backup on just about any opinion. This thread has convinced me it is time to add to the crabapple collection, but I think I am going to stick mostly to the ones with proven track records. I will be adding for show and not so much trial/study.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 11:09AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

check out golden harvest

brilliant yellow fruit for most of the winter ...


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 11:53AM
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Anyone growing Professor Sprenger? I planted one last year, but would be interested to hear how it has performed for others. Here's one gracing the entrance at the U of Minnesota arb.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 12:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hidden lakes.. in tipton MI .. has an incredible collection...

in bloom on mothers day ... 30 to 50 varieties [total guess] ....


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 12:57PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I stumbled upon another comparison chart that has some varieties (including 'Amberina' and 'Sinai Fire') that weren't in the first chart I linked above. Here is the other info sheet:

Here is a link that might be useful: The Morton Arboretum's Guide to Crabapples for the Home Landscape

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 2:34PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I think Ken's 'Golden Harvest' may actually be 'Harvest Gold'. If so, it's also included on the sheets I linked above.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 2:54PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are correct brandon.. shouldnt type while drinking coffee


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:17PM
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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

I can't believe you crabapple-ophiles haven't already purchased Fiala's book, and anything at all that Tom Green has written on the subject. Maybe you really don't care that much after all...the IOCS should start a dossier on you.

More proof? Visit any arboretum, garden, or university that has trialed crabapples (especially as part of the late Dr. Lester Nichols' supreme effort to categorize performance and disease susceptibility).

I'll add links here, but most of you probably have a lot faster computer than me. Search not only by clonal name, but by names like Fiala, Falconskeape, IOCS, and other crabapple related terminology.

I am growing these clones because I've personally seen them while walking the fields of the nurseries I mentioned above, and from devouring the words of John Fiala. He didn't select and name these plants for folly. He spent a lifetime separating the wheat from the chaff, and these are fine trees. Bernheim Arboretum has many of these in their exceptional collection - you should come visit there in case you haven't already.

Here is the list of crabapple clones I'm growing here. Trialing is an aspect of what almost any gardener does in growing plants, whether admitted to or not. Putting a plant in the ground and expecting success is the supreme act of hope.

'Cardinal's Robe'
'Cranberry Lace'
'Dream Pink'
'Full Sails'
'Golden Dream'
'Henry Ross'
'Little Troll'
'Mollie Ann'
'Morning Sun'
'Red Peacock'
'Satin Cloud'
'Silver Cloud'
'Sinai Sunset'
'Woven Gold'

Additional crabapples from this Fiala flock that I've known, grown, and loved in other endeavors include 'Amberina', 'Luwick', 'Molten Lava', and 'Red Swan'. I'd not be afraid to try any of the others.;searchType=sourceresult.asp

You gotta love a plantsman that's truly a Freek...

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 11:15PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I, for one, am not and don't claim to be a crabapple-ophile. VV, from what little you've said here, I'm sure you probably know much more about crabapples than I do, and that's exactly why I wondered (above) if you knew and could share more about the selections you mentioned. I do purchase a fair amount of books about plants, horticulture, and arboriculture, but, if I purchased a book about every plant I was interested in, I wouldn't be able to afford any plants and wouldn't have the room for all the books. I have a large bookcase full of books, but you just can't have them all. I think I can speak for pretty much everyone involved in this thread when I say, "if we didn't care, we wouldn't be here asking questions and sharing information."

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 7:57PM
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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Easy, big B. Some sarcasm doesn't always ooze through the text.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 9:18PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

And Flowering Crabapples: The Genus Malus is $1,000.00 on Amazon! lol!

Any thoughts on Sugar Tyme? I see the disease resistance rating anywhere from good to excellent. How consistent and persistant is the fruit?

brandon, good find on the Morton Arb...I cruised through there mid-October. I'll probably have to take another trip in Spring.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 10:43PM
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'Sugar Tyme' is one of my favorites and a very popular selection of flowering crab in this area. I have seen very little indication of disease issues with this selection, at least in this area. Offers a nice two-toned flowering display with dark pink buds opening to a mass of white flowers. Fruit is on the smaller side, profuse, dark red and persistent through winter. Birds and other wildlife will finally do away with it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 11:52AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Even though there may be better cultivars, I'm leaning towards the Sugar Tyme.

Seems to have consistent/presistant profuse flowers and fruit. Meets my size requirments...only negative is that it has "slight" suseptiabilty to S,FB,PM and R...although its still consider good resistance.

The kicker is that there is availability in my area for 2"-2.5" caliper for $110.00.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 12:32PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i planted mail order 3 foot sticks.. which the second year.. started growing about 3 feet per year ...

YA KNOW ... you dont have to buy everything big ...

for $110 .. you could get about 10 crabs in the mail ...

IMHO.. you would be better off with 4 crabs ... a dark purple leafed with dark fruit... a white flowered with lime leaves and yellow fall color ... a green leaf with white flower ... and green with pink flower ....

in each corner of your yard... full month of spring flower.. since they usually dont all bloom precisely at the same moment .... and it will be spectacular ...

one crab... hmmmmm ... dull

just a thought.. i know you are going your own way.. and good luck with all that ...

no matter which one you get.. bone up on sucker removal.. it can be maddening ...


    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 2:51PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I'd probably be all over that suggestion...except I have poor soil on just over a 1/3 acre.

Things grow slowly in my compacted clay soil...when I purchased the house (built in 95', again poor soil) it came with (2)Native hawthorns, (1) Black Cherry, (1) Silver Maple and (1) Freemani Maple.

Only the Freemani Maple remains, because of its shape and location.

Since then I've planted several trees but only have a few premium spots left...reasons for all the posts looking for suggestions. Getting the larger plants is critical for privacy, shade and structure...given that no else plants anything, those lazy SOBs, lol. You'd think after living in a house for 15 years you'd plant more than 2 shrubs and 1 tree.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 5:09PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

One year later and I'm still in the same boat!

I actually planted a Homestead Buckeye in lieu of the crabapple but now that I'm in the new place I'll be planting one this time.

I've narrowed it down to three disease resistant cultivars. Beyond that I think the most important aspect is persistant fruit. I actually went through all the links above and some sources say different things (regarding fruit persistance). So with that said what would you opt for?

Sugar Tyme
Golden Raindrops

I'd opt for PF but I'm not seeing enough consistency for abundant persistant fruit. Otherwise the fall color is a nice added bonus...same thing with GR.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 7:26PM
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Don't know anything about the others Whaas is considering, but highly recommend Sugar Tyme. I planted a smaller, 4-foot Sugar Tyme in Fall '08 and it has established beautifully- proportionate and well branched. You can't tell from the pic, but it is now 9 feet tall. The leaves are glossy green and stay healthy looking during the time when other varieties start looking sickly. No defoliation thus far. I can't speak to the fruit as mine is not yet established.
I am also enjoying this thread- thanks for contributing!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:54AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I think the shape and size of the Sugar Tyme are quite desirable for my placement.

More research shows that Sugar Tyme is an "alternate" bearer of abundant fruit and flowers.

Although they are not noted for their fruit (color, size and qty), my Coralburst took 2 years before it set fruit.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 1:29PM
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