This Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree is undoubtedly one for your garden – I think it’s a got to have!
Instructions for Planting A Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree
- Plant the tree/s in either Spring or Fall.
- You’ll need to check that the ground is still in a reasonable condition for planting.
- If the ground is workable, then you’re good to go.
- If you’ve heard a weather report to say frost is expected, then hold off on planting.
- Soak the root ball in the water while you prepare the ground.
- Dig a hole that is at least 6 inches wider than the ball on the plant – and no deeper.
- Rotate the plant to the correct position.
- Never lift the trees by their tops or handle the tops when moving them.
- Look for where the plant’s base flares out from the Tree; it’s called the root flair.
- Look carefully at the root flare as it will show you where you should plant the Tree.
- If you find it necessary, add some of the soil directly under the ball. Make sure to keep the root flair uncovered.
- Into the bottom of the hole, if you have bought fertilizer packets, then place them there.
- Next, take some of the soil you dug out (to make the hole) and refill it halfway.
- Next, pour/spray water onto that soil until it is thoroughly soaked/drenched.
- Now take the Tree (which is straight and positioned to your taste), cut, and remove the cord that holds it all together.
- Remove (or bend back) the top one-third of the metal basket.
- Finally, take that exposed burlap off the top of the ball.
- Now you can fill up the rest of the hole to the top of the ball by putting the soil back.
- Steep thoroughly in water from the top of the ball.
- It would be best if you saw the top of the root ball, so it should be slightly higher than its surrounding soil.
- Take the mulch and start adding it, but make sure you don’t put it against the Tree’s trunks or stems.
- This Tree grows best in a medium moisture situation.
- It needs well-drained, acidic soil, in full sun – six to eight hours per day.
- The plant is easily adaptable to an extensive range of soils.
- Once the Tree is established and growing strong, it does have some drought tolerance.
- Plant this Tree in Spring or Fall.
- It looks great when positioned as a specimen/accent.
- It also does well in small groups.
- Please space these trees between 10 to 20 feet apart – depending on the expected size, in maturity, of that particular variety.
How to Care for a Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree
After Planting – Pruning
It’s unnecessary to prune after planting, other than getting a good shape and removing any broken branches. Maybe you want to thin out a very heavily branched tree because that will help you with the plant’s appearance when you transplant.
Throughout the Season – Pruning
Doing this will cause the loss of some of these pretty flowers; however, it is still a good idea to prune this Tree in late Winter. Avoid Spring pruning as it creates open cuts, and these are exposing your plant to fireblight.
When pruning at the correct time, you can prune back the last year’s stems to half of their length at the end of every season.
After Planting – Watering
- While your newly planted Tree is establishing its root system into the soil (this usually takes about six weeks), it will need watering as often as two to four days for the first week or two, and after that, water it once a week.
- After the initial six weeks settling in period, water once per week unless the ground receives moderate rain.
- To check on this, you can put your fingers in the soil down to about three inches to assess the moisture situation.
Throughout the Season – Watering
- Once the first season has passed, the Tree only needs to be watered in the absence of rain.
- The easy way to tell if it needs water is to see if the soil is moist around the roots (the three-inch-deep finger test in the earth).
- If there is no moisture, you should water; if there is moisture, leave it.
- If it is dry, it’s best to give it a good soaking.
Where It Originated
The natural habitat of this Tree is in temperate regions of the world’s northern hemisphere, and they include the countries of Kazakhstan, Russia, and China.
Crabapples Trees also occupy the moderate areas of North America since they were brought to and planted in the Western Hemisphere (where they did very well) during the 18th century.
There are different varieties, for example, here we’re discussing the Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree, yet did you know that its parent is called The Golden Raindrops Crabapple Tree!
What the Fuss is About
The first time I saw a Royal Raindrops (there are other species with equally grandiose names) Crabapple Tree in full blossom I had to stop and stare in admiration of its entire aura of majesty.
It was so beautiful and graceful that it immediately conjured up in my mind a young ballerina wearing a very full and intensely floral tutu and dancing Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite!
Wow! I believe that does justice to this small, outstanding, and very regal, Tree.
It’s an uplifting attack on the senses; it’s knee weakener, a heart-stopper, a treat for the eyes; it rocks!
Why it’s a Big Deal
This plant can live up to about 70 years. It’s a straight growing tree; the trunk is narrow but straight and sturdy and about 15 to 20 feet high. Then it has a full 10 to 15-foot spread of flowers in full bloom. They are colored magenta (purplish-red, reddish-purple, or mauvish-crimson) and contrast beautifully with the foliage’s strangely deep purple.
Furthermore, when the flowers start to fade, they are replaced with fruit – the sparkling red fruit of the world-famous Crabapples; the foliage also changes from deep purple to beautiful shades of bronze, orange, and mahogany – what a sight!
More Details on its Attributes
You would think that ‘royalty’ like this would be high maintenance – but not at all!
It’s a tree whose structure makes it unique. Its strong branches are robust with an upright growth habit and great density.
This means that the Tree doesn’t need a lot of pruning. It develops into a balanced canopy by itself, and as already noted here – it spreads to between 10 to 15 feet.
Come rain, come wind, these study branches never get windswept (except in abnormal conditions), and even better, this wonderfully adaptable and easy-going Tree can tolerate the cold (not the Antarctic) and continues to blossom its heart out every year. It has great aesthetics!
Some Caution Here Please
The Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree is a fast grower. I’m happy to tell you because it’s such a sturdy and robust plant, it has an inbuilt resistance that it demonstrates against common Crabapple diseases.
So, immune (as it appears to be) to Fireblight, Apple Scab, Cedar-Apple Rust, and Mildew; keep an eye out for possible nasties such as Aphids, Japanese Beetles, Borers, and Scale.
Garden Design and Ideas Where to Plant
This Tree is so versatile that it can be planted in various places in your garden landscape. Give it full sun and moderately rich soil with good drainage.
Plant it in the planting beds around the house or on the property line or maybe, even on the corners of your home would be a beautiful design. You could even plant it, center stage in the middle of your lawn – it would do well as an accent plant.
Don’t Plant within 10 Feet of Any Building
Just remember that when planting, it must be kept at least 10 feet away from any building – your house included!
Once planted, when it has grown, you won’t be able to see whatever is behind it. So unless that’s the only view you want – it can be a bit of a view spoiler.
That’s why it’s so important to choose wisely the position in which it will be planted.
Strange to relate, The Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree is extraordinarily tolerant and can grow in almost any condition!
What Are Crabapples?
Some trees are bred only to produce large eating apples. Crabapples are ordinary apples that haven’t yet matured!
Safe but Don’t Eat the Cyanide
The Crabapples are not toxic. Therefore you can eat them – but don’t eat the seeds or core.
I doubt anyone would do this in a normal situation where you feel like munching on an apple or two, but if you were to eat 200 of these seeds or more, it would be fatal for the human body as they contain cyanide. However, enjoying eating a crabapple or two is as safe as drinking a cup of coffee.
Taste and Uses and Recipe Suggestions
The Crabapples themselves are small and taste of apple but with a sourer apple flavor. That said, you can make some great recipes with this fruit from the Royal Raindrops Crabapple Tree.
Jellies and Roasts
Because they have an incredibly high pectin and acid content, they are perfect for the setting of fruit jams and jellies. You can also balance out the wonderful tangy tartish apple flavor and adjust it to your preference.,
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what crab apple jelly is used for?
Try it with all the roasts – it’s delicious! Roast Lamb, Roast Pork (I think this pairing is the most successful), and Game cuts.
It’s a Cake Walk
If you need a cake filling when serving a cream tea, then try using it there – it’s great.
When making a savory jelly, you usually add a little vinegar, but there’s no need to do that if you have Crabapple – keep it a sweet based jelly – add Crabapple; that will do the trick!
If you plant this Tree, I think you’ll find it a source of pleasure every single day.