Difference between Dreamweaver and Purple Spire crabapple?

ostrich(3a AB)May 10, 2013

Hi everyone,

I am looking for a columnar crabapple that's good for Calgary (zone 3). I have read about the Dreamweaver and Purple Spire crabapples. They look incredibly similar to me! Then in one place, they even state that the Purple Spire is part of the Dreamweaver series!? Hmm.... really?

Then there is also the Emerald Spire crabapple.... which is supposed to have greener leaves than the bronzy purplish leaves of Purple Spire.

What are the differences really??? Which one is the best bloomer?

If I want columnar trees but I don't want a columnar crabapple or gasp... Swedish Aspen (they are so overused in my neighbourhood!), what are my other choices? The area in question will need three of them in a row. It also gets a decent amount of sun.


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I just looked at the purple spire yesterday at CT $39.99 but wasn't sure if they had the zone right. Did some research on your question

Here is a link that might be useful: Columnar Crabapple Comparison

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:10PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks! I will go to CT to take a look there then.

If I don't go with crabapple, what other columnar choices are there? I looked outside this morning and found that probably 4 out of my 5 neighbours' backyards have Swedish Aspen.... the one that did not have it basically has not even started on landscaping in the back yard yet LOL. So I guess I am not going to add more Swedish Aspens for my neighbourhood....

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Purple Spire is VERY columnar and VERY narrow - only a foot across when mature.

Dreamweaver is upright tree form.

As you saw, SCA is very common in Calgary, you can try tower poplar for a slight change in pace, or columnar spruce, or columnar pine (these two don't grow as quickly and are expensive and heavy for larger sizes).

Sutherland Caragana is good too, not seen too often and easy to take care of.

There's columnar birch, but they're quite high maintenance. Also pyramidal mountain ash, but they grow extremely slowly (like 3 inches a year here).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:27AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Hi shazam,

Thanks! Do you mean that Dreamweaver is supposed to get wider than Purple Spire when you said that it's a tree form?

I don't think that I want to have evergreen trees there between my house and my neighbours - I don't want that to become a focal point during winter! LOL!

I am curious about Sutherland Caragana. What do they look like? Not many photos online even...

I saw these Dakota Pinnacle birch trees at CT yesterday - healthy and tall, and the price was good too. However, they may get too wide for this narrow strip of grass area. Why are they high maintenance please?

Thanks for all your help!

P.S. BTW, so much good stuff at CT yesterday! Everything looks fresh and new and healthy..... so I could not bear it and broke down and got myself a Morden Belle rose! LOL

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Purple Spire is a stick with leaves. At least that's what I think when I see it. The leaves go all the way down to the base of the trunk.

Dreamweaver can still grow fairly wide, and has a tree-form (i.e. clearly defined trunk, leaves on branches in some sort of defined shape). 'Gladiator' is another good one that is narrower, commonly available but still looks like a tree. I'm not sure either of these would suit the area you're describing though.

Another good choice is Emerald spire, it grows like a Purple Spire but actually has branches that grow very upright (think SCA but purple) so it looks more filled out and natural.

The problem with birches is they require a ton of water and in Calgary are guaranteed to be attacked by the birch leafminer, which means you need to either spray or ensure that you wrap the trunk with something that stops the larvae from crawling up the tree.

Here's a link to Google Streetview that shows Sutherland Caragana that are along Crowchild Trail between Kensington and 5Ave NW. Keep clicking north and you will see more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mature Sutherland Caragana

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:52PM
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this website shows the dreamweaver and the purple spire as the same shape but with dreamweaver having more flowers and more fruit



    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 5:11PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks so much, shazam and CLBlakey!

Shazam, I had no idea that there were Sutherland Caragana along Crowchild! That was very helpful indeed.

I think that I am going to ask my landscaper to see if he could get some Emerald Spires or Dreamweavers for me. These two appear to be the most appealing.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 5:42PM
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That's not a Dreamweaver. It's a Purple Spire.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:21PM
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What's not a dreamweaver?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:37PM
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That pic you posted. That's a Purple Spire. It's from Jeffrie Nurserie's Purple Spire brochure, but reversed.


Anyhoo, here's an article about Dreamweaver:


Actually it seems that I got them backwards with Purple Spire growing a bit wider.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 5:05PM
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I saw the pics from Jeffries nurseries not the same ones I posted. For some reason the links I posted did not send you directly to the specific tree pages but on the page it does send you to it has links to both trees.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

The Jeffries brochure seems to have Emerald and Purple reversed on some of the pictures. At least on one the one labeled Emerald is darker purple than the one labeled Emerald.

Purple Spire is a light bloomer. Both produce small fruit that stays on the tree until eaten by birds.


Swedish Aspen is at risk of Bronze Leaf Disease. I have seen BLD infected trees at box stores. I have bought infected trees from major growers.

The only way to be sure you get uninfected stock is to buy them after mid August. By then the affected leaves will show.

If lots of your neighbors have SA, don't plant it.


Prairie Skyrise Trembling Aspen (Mutant of our native aspen)

Sundancer Hybrid poplar. (Usual faults of poplars)

Parkland Pillar asian birch

Dakota Birch

Standing Ovation Saskatoon

Skybound Cedar

Flame Willow

Pussy Willow

Common osier willow

More information about the risks and tradeoffs of Swedish aspen attached.


Here is a link that might be useful: Swedish Aspen & BLD

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:13PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

My Dreamweavers seem to bloom every second year - lots of blooms and fairly large apples as well(you have to pick them up).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:24PM
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