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Sargents Flowering Crab

Posted by newyorkrita z7 NY (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 21, 02 at 13:44

I am thinking about planting a sargents flowering Crabapple next spring for the birds. I have seen a picture of one in fruit and it is very attractive. But then I read that they don't always set fruit. They are on lots of shrubs for wildlife lists. Also, its supposed to remain small so it could go in the hedgerows I intend to make with viburnums and such.

Anyone growing this crabapple?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I was, but I pulled it out. It was taking up one of my super protected spots. It is a nice little tree, no leaf disease, but count on every other year flowering. The berries are low on the menu for the birds. I had plenty of shriveled up carcasses left from last year still this spring.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Boy, I am really striking out trying to find the right tree. I looked into mountain ash, no good for humid Long Island. A serviceberry tree would be nice but that does not make fruit for winter feeding, plus I already planted lots of the shrub forms. I thought a flowering crab might be the best bet. Maybe I will look into other small crab trees. That spot I had in mind needs a small tree, almost a shrub really.

Kevin-- Maybe you have so many wonderful fruiting shrubs and trees that the birds did not need your crabapple. I am sure if I had crabapple that my mockingbird would eat it if the apples were small enough. One of the reasons I was thinking of the sargents, I know the apples are really small, about a half inch.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Do you already have too many Viburnum? V. prunifolium, V.lentago(leaf mildew troubles), Jack Viburnum, V. sieboldii, and V. sargentii all are large shrub/small tree size and would do the job. You could go and try to find one of the V. plicatum tomentosum cultivars with good fruit in a fall sale. 'Allegheny' gets real big, is semi-evergreen, and has lots of fruit. What about Chionanthus virginicus? They can be loaded with fruit, but you need male/female. Sweetbay Magnolia, cutleaf Sumac if you can contain it, Vitex(for butterflies), or Hawthorn all offer something for wildlife. I just noticed you are in Zone 7! There must be a world of appropriate plants I don't even know about! How about in the Ilex family? Ziziphus? Mespilus? PawPaw? There is a dwarf Hackberry. Harlequin Glorybower? Cornus mas is a treat for birds(and people!). Plenty to choose from!


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Cranberry bush viburnum (V. trifolium) holds its fruits until winter. It seems that the birds do not eat much of it until it softens. And the plant is abolutely gorgeous. The berries of arrowwood viburnum (V. dentatum) disappear the second they ripen. Other species do not fruit reliably enough for me to be able to report!

Birds seem to eat holly berries only as a last resort. They never touch the berries of the big American holly, although they hang out there a lot, especially if it snows. My winterberry (I. verticillata) has fruited for the first time this year, and I'll let everyone know if the birds seem to eat that as the winter goes on.

I have both snowberry and coral berry (two Symphorocarpus species). Both hold their fruit through the winter, and coral berry is especially pretty, but I have never seen birds eating them!

Crab apples are not really winter food. Rather, they all disappear right after the first frost, when they soften enough for birds to eat them.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I've got a Sargent's flowering crab I've had for years, and it is one of my favorite trees. It blooms and fruits well in alternate years (looks like a cloud in bloom, and is loaded with fruits afterwards.) Robins here do eat the fruit, pretty much any that is produced.

I have another crab, "Snowdrift," that is more popular with the birds. It sets numerous small, orange fruits that the cedar waxwings love.

This is a great time of year to watch birds eating fruits.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Kevin- I certainly do not have too many Viburnums and am planning on adding more for next year. I am undecided as to what to do about the Flowering Crab so I will probably wait until inspiration hits before deciding on something for that particular spot. Meanwhile I will work on other areas of the yard and plant more viburnums and who knows what else.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I found this interesting factsheet about the Sargents flowering crab as I was searching on the net.

Now I am wondering, since it flowers (and fruits) heavily every other year if I plant two trees if they would flower alternate years or help with pollination.

I still want a crab apple and I have not found any that seems to be as disease free as the Sargents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sargents Flowering Crab Factsheet


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Found another site with absolutely unbelievable pictures of the crabapple. Closeup of fruit on top of page and then scroll down for pictures in flower and more fruit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sargents Crabapple pics


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

One more picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sargents Crabapple Blossoms


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

You can certainly find a crabapple that fruits reliably every year. Mine does. Unfortunately, I don't know what variety it is--it's probably 40 years old, and we've been here for 10 years. Just go to a nursery and buy a newer variety with small fruits.

Crabapples have a couple of other benefits besides fruit: in flower, they attract an enormous number and variety of pollinators; when mature they provide nice shade as well as lots of stuff under the bark for birds to eat. My crabapple attracts lots of woodpeckers year round--not to eat the fruit but to peck at the bark and eat grubs (I assume).

Most years, the apples disappear immediately after the first frost; this year, however, they're still there, and I see birds eating them singly every once in a while. These trees are a good addition to a varied landscape, but they're not the wildlife magnets that dogwoods or serviceberries are.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I was reading about Sargents Flowering Crabs being planted in large numbers as wildlife shrubs, especially for large game birds. Wish I could find the link.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I did look locally for Sargents but was not sucessful. Everyplace I asked did not carry them. I am going to have to mail order, just have to decide if I want to go for it in the fall or wait for spring.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Cold Stream Farm has them. 231-464-5809


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Next Spring, Elaine. I have added so much this year and its too late anyway.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Newyorkrita...what a nice photo of the blossoms that we could see clicking on one of the links you gave us! Just today I was telling someone I wanted a mini crabapple. Maybe this will fit the bill. Anyone know of any that are even smaller, say 4 to 5 feet high and spreading maybe only 6 to 8 feet wide and that would would survive Zone 4-5? Thanks.

Joanie (in Maine)


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

There is an even smaller form of Sargents called 'Tina' which is only supposed to get about 5 feet high. It seems to be even more difficult to find than the regular Sargents flowering crab.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Just ordered a Malus sargentii 'Tina' from ForestFarm to be shipped this Fall. Sargents crabs are just not available locally around here and finding them on the web to ship isn't any easy task either! ForestFarm has the regular sargents crabs but in the five gallon size with extra big bucks shipping on top of the not especially cheap tree. So I nixed that. I could get one from Cold Steam but it would a one item order. Does any nursery even do one item orders, anyway?

The 'Tina'is a dwarf form that only grows to five feet of so. Sounds nice to me.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

My 'Tina' Sargents Crab is planted and dormant now. I don't think its big enough to bloom this Spring but we will see. Meanwhile, I have seen Cardinals and Mockingbirds eating the Crabappless from my 'Indian Magic' Crabapple tree already. For sure those are not going to make it thru the winter without being eaten first.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Ordered a Sargents Flowering Crab from Musser Forest too. I got one pot grown for Spring shipping. Since it said they are 10-30 inches tall, I am prepared for the worst and for it to be 10 inches if I am lucky. Still, I had an order going in and it was just 6.95. I ordered Buttenbrush too, a good flowering native for attracting Hummers and bees.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

The Sargents Crab came today from Mussers. It is in about a three inch pot and just starting to leaf out. Maybe about 14 inches tall but has lots of branching and a nice shape.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

The 'Tina' Sargents Crab Apple I planted late last Fall never made it thru the Winter. Its rated as Winter Hardy thru zone 5 so I was really surprised. Kept waiting for it to bud out in the Spring but no luck. Dead as a Doornail. Bummer!!! :-(((((


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

The little Sargents Crab I planted is growing now. Wish it would bboom next spring but its probably to small.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

So the regular Sargents Crab I planted did not grow very much last year. I hope this one makes it thru the Winter and settles in, as I had lousey luck with the 'Tina' Crab!


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Well, the little Sargents Crab leafed out this spring nicely but of course no flowers yet.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

it might need a few years to get over transplanting shock. Im not surprised it didnt grow much yet. I understand this crab is longer lived than many others


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I don't have a sargents, but a magic crab. Tons of flowers and it sets fruit well. The tiny apples are on all winter and the birds come by and eat them early in March. Mostly robins and cedar waxwings like the fruit the best. VAL


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

We put in two Tina Crabs last spring and they have done beautifully. They blossomed gorgeous, full white flowers this spring and the trees looks to be exceptionally healthy. We bought them from a local nursery but I believe the tag said they came from "Bailey Nurseries." I will look for the tag to verify this for you.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I wish my Tina Crabapple had done weell, instead it died. The little Sargets crab I have from Mussner forest finially had its first flowers this spring and had set TWO crabapples. I got tried of waiting and ordered a Sargets from Song Sparrow that I got this spring. A really lovely little tree.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

  • Posted by lellie z9 Anna Maria Island (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 18, 07 at 17:25

NYRita...does it have to be a 'tree'?
I grew Pyracantha in my courtyard when I lived up north and the birds feasted on the berries almost all winter long!
The dark green foliage and the orange-red berries were visually appealing, as well.

BTW: I had an older Flowering Crabapple that bloomed and fruited profusely...the birds hardly touched it.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

Well, I bought two other crab apples this spring with the Sargents from Song Sparrow so actually three new crabapples will be in the yard.

Last spring I bought a potted Sugertyme crab apple locally (in Home Depot would you belive). This spring it flowered heavily and is loaded with little green crabapples.

Around here the birds do eat the crabapples, mostly in the late fall from what I can see.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

You know, I keep reading all these wonderful things people say about Song Sparrow Nursery, but my gosh are they expensive. They have a tree I would like, 45 bucks, 22 bucks for shipping. Then there'd be tax on that. Just a little high IMHO when you figure the state of WI is right above me.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

I actually have looked at Song Sparrow for years and like you, terryr, have thought their prices high. But this spring I decided to get 7 lilac shrubs from them so I also got the three crab apples since I had been wanting them. Since my order was large, I figgured the shipping wasn't so bad. Can't remember what it came to. The crabapple trees are actually bigger than I thought they would be as I was expecting really, really small trees. Of course, they are not anywere near as large as something you could buy potted locally but you couldn't get any of these locally so I am happy.


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RE: Sargents Flowering Crab

That's actually the sad thing for me Rita. The tree I was looking at was a Liriodendron, but a smaller one than the straight species. I couldn't find the tree anywhere but there. But there was just no way I was shelling out that kind of money for a tree in a small pot. So I went ahead and bought the Liriodendron tulipifera and since it grows more high than wide, I think it will work just fine. I would love to get the native crabapple, Malus ioensis. But since there were 2 Juniperus virginiana (red cedar) here that were loaded with cedar apple rust (when we removed them), then I'm not going to. I actually don't see any other Juniperus virginiana around, so I'm not sure what caused the cedar apple rust.


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