Fruit trees

Crabapple (Malus sylvestris)

Crabapple trees normally establish themselves in clearings or on the edges of fields. As the forests grow, the apple trees fill with shrubs that are shaded by the overhanging tree branches. 

characteristics

Apple trees that are crowded and shady for a long time usually do not bear fruit. The lifespan, vigor and performance of crabapp can be improved with a few simple techniques in common use.

This tree can be two to five meters high, although it can reach up to 12 meters. Its crown is rounded with thick branches, rough to the touch and angular in shape, whose deciduous leaves are oval, with slightly serrated edges.

The flowers have an inferior compound ovary, contrary to the majority of rosaceae that have super-ovaries. They grow in groups and have five delicate pink and white petals. In its center, the stigma and several stamens stand out and depending on the tree the fruit usually has different colors with two or more seeds inside.

The apple tree tolerates moderate winds, but not heat, although it grows well in the sun. It also adapts to various temperatures (cold and temperate climates).

It needs deep soils with a neutral pH between six and seven, and good drainage, especially clay or sandy ones. It matures at different times of the year for between 100 and 200 days and always blooms in late spring.

Bees or other insects pollinate their flowers, in fact, farmers place the hives on the trees to facilitate reproduction and prefer cross-fertilization so that the fruits develop better and good harvests are obtained. The crabapple grows from seed, while the one commonly grown by grafting and its fruits appear within the first five years.

Benefits

The fruit is eaten fresh without peeling or in salads, jams, cakes, sauces, cider, wine and juices; as sweet, in cake or desserts. It is beneficial for human health as it contains folic acid, calcium, polyphenols, potassium, vitamins A, B and C, as well as being rich in fiber, allowing to regulate digestive function, repair intestinal flora, avoid constipation and diarrhea.

Pectin, for its part, helps lower cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood and is highly antioxidant, since it prevents some types of cancer, and antibacterial properties are attributed to it due to the presence of the Phloterin compound in its fruits.

It is used as a remedy for pain caused by rheumatism; also to cleanse the liver and gallbladder. Caution should be exercised with seeds that are slightly toxic and can cause allergies or health damage if consumed in excess.

Crab apple cultivation

The cultivation of the crabapple, although not threatened, can be damaged by pests or diseases even before maturing.

Apple trees like most fruit trees and shrubs are best grown in full sun. Annual pruning is another way to ensure consistent fruit set and tree health. The apples on crabapple trees may be smaller than the fruits on trees used for human use.

Pests

Its flowers or leaves are usually affected by the apple scab fungus and the fruits by the rot fungus. Scab causes dark spots on leaves and fruits, but applying these fungicidal treatments with horsetail or milk turns out to be very effective.

Chancre injures the trunk and branches. Also the aphids use the foliage and when plaguing the tree this slows its growth. Other harmful organisms are the European red mite, spider mite, mealybug, bronze beetle, weevil, capsid bug, caterpillars, and moth.

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