Crab or regular apple trees? Your opinion?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Habitat' started by faithorn Hunter, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. I want to plant some apple trees this spring and was looking for some opinions.

    I know crab apples are easier to grow and produce apples faster. However, do the deer find them as attractive as regular apple trees? If so, what type of crab have you used and what are your experiences?

    For those of you who have planted either crab or regular or both, what would you advise me?

    Also, please advise me on your experience regarding how you plant, i.e. spacing, types of trees planted together (late, versus early, etc.)

    Thanks in advance for your responses

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  2. If you decide to plant crab apple trees, then be sure that the trees that you buy will produce decent sized crab apples. I planted three ornamental crabapple trees that I bought at one of the big box home improvement stores. Prariefire was the name of two of the crab apples. The trees are doing well but the fruits are tiny and don't attrack the deer much. Check with a reputable nursery, such as Morse Nursery in Battle Creek, to buy crab apple trees that will produce fruit that deers will want. Your local county extension service may be able to provide some guidance too.

  3. Mixing a crab in with regular apples helps improve pollination since apple trees require cross pollination for setting fruit.
  4. Other critters enjoy small crab apples.
  5. farmlegend

    farmlegend Say My Name.

    You're getting good advice, here, faithorn.

    I'd add this; if I'm planting fruit trees for deer, and can choose between crabapple, apple, and pear, apple trees would rank #3.
  6. Next spring, I'm going with siberian crab apples mixed with a few pears for cross pollination.
  7. I have both crabapples (zumi and magenta from coldstream) and regular apples from Cummins. For apple I chose Pristine (ripen July 10), Liberity (ripen September 15), and Goldrush (Ripen November 10). They are all disease resistant but will still require maintenance. I plan to add some pears next year. I am building an orchard with a variety of fruit. I know crabapples will draw wildlife and be less maintenace in the long run but I also know that a mature apple tree dumping HUGE crops can have plenty of drawing power as well. Diversity is a good strategy in any land management plan, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
    #8 CrazyED, Dec 21, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  8. My apologies for being daft here Bish, do you mean that regular ol' apple trees require "fertilizer, spraying, triming" and crabs do not?

    By the way, I planted four Prairiefire in my yard, they are beautiful flowering trees in the spring. Would never have dawned on me to plant them for critters, more like berries than apples.
  9. Yes that is what Bish means. Bish had some great pics last year of crabapples and the deer tracks under them in the winter.
  10. Very good, I recall his post on that. I was thinking about planting some Honeycrisp for my own enjoyment but didn't think about the maintenance. I had a hard time finding time to hang stands this year, hard to see spending much time on apple tree work each year.
  11. I have some honeycrisp in the basket on the counter as we speak. Hard to beat them. You could plant 3 or 4 honey crisp ,more for your enjoyment and plant the rest in crabs and pears for the deer's enjoyment, not that the deer wouldn't enjoy your honeycrisp.:D
    I'm planning on buying 8-12 of various crabs from morse nursery. They have some with larger fruit and later drops. I will shelter them in tree tubes. Actually that is what I asked for for Christmas this year.;)

  12. IMO, It really doesn't matter, as long as you can find these qualities in a tree:

    1) Disease resistance.

    2) Trees with predominant late apple drop characteristics.

    3) Good annual crops. Crabs are typically better in this category.

    Several different varieties is in and of itself important for pollination and timed "buffet" factor. This is one of the more expensive ventures for habitat dudes, so try to get it right the first time and keep experimentation to a minimum. Plenty of good advice on this forum for that.
  13. If you decide to plant crabapple here are a few things to remember
    1. Don't plant to deep
    2. Apply natural mulch or old wood chips ( not pallet material ) This will hold moisture in the soil longer and help the new trees through dry spells. The proper depth 2 to 4 inches. Diameter of circle 24'' it seems big for small tree but what you are trying to do is promote roots to grow out away from the trunk. Don't pile mulch up against the tree.This promotes girdling roots and weak tree.
    3. Tree tubes or fencing on as many trees as you can afford. If the rabbits don't get them the deer will. Five foot works best.
    4. It's better to plant a few trees right and have sucess than to plant alot and have disaster.
  14. I did quite a bit of research before I planted my apples this is how I do it.
    1. Dig a hole the size of a bushell basket.
    2. 2 bags of manure + 2 bags top soil+ 1 cup watersorb.
    3. Mulch with 2-3 bags of pea gravel
    4. Fench with 60" welded wire I think we used 20' length. Fence is better than tree tubes. Its tough to prune tree to central leader inside a tube.
    5. Depending on rootstock tree should be staked.
    6. Staple 36 inches of aluminum window screen around base of tree to prevent girdling.

    I have a bunch of other handy links I will post tomorrow.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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