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We can’t decide if we like Prairie Fire Crabapple better in spring, when the red buds become hot pink flowers; in fall, when the blooms are replaced by deep red fruits; or in winter, when the crabapples—softened by several freezes—are mobbed by songbirds. Cedar waxwings are especially fond of the fruits, and watching them from your kitchen window while they devour your offerings isn’t a bad way to spend a chilly winter afternoon. When the crabapples are gone, hang a birdfeeder from Prairie Fire’s branches and let the show continue!
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
- Spacing: 18-20'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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It was a sort of happy accident that brought Prairie Fire to life. In 1945, an alliance was formed among Purdue, Rutgers, and the University of Illinois, called the PRI initiative, with the goal of breeding new Apple varieties with built-in disease resistance. The researchers involved wanted to give orchard owners varieties that wouldn’t require as many expensive and time-consuming pesticide applications. Dr. Daniel Dayton, an Illinois transplant from New Hampshire, is credited with the introduction of this stellar Crabapple that came about as a sideshoot of the PRI program 1982.
This is one very disease resistant and drought tolerant Crabapple that you won't put out to pasture! Prairie Fire Crabapples start the spring season by producing red buds opening to deep red flowers against a backdrop of green, purple-tinted leaves. The fall season is accentuated by glossy maroon fruit, which extends into winter to give the glossy reddish-brown bark some added interest. It's our favorite!
How to Grow
Flowering Crabapples grow well in a wide range of soil conditions and should be planted in a sunny area of your yard; they can tolerate very light shade as well. As with all trees, keep your newly planted Crabapple watered. Don’t keep the soil too wet, however, moist soil is fine. Crabapples also like fertilizer, the more you give them – the more they grow. Once a year apply a simple tree fertilizer during fall to help promote new growth and flowers for the following season. Pruning Flowering Crabapples is fairly easy. Prune branches after your Crabapple is done flowering and cut off any suckers around the base of your tree whenever they appear.
This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.
Size A Trees:
6' tall. The branching structure has already been developed. Grown in our #7 tree container. May beed staking at this size.
Size B Trees:
6-8' tall. Well formed vigorous tree with great branching and heavy stem caliper to 1 1/2". Many times our Crabapples ship much larger than descibed here. Grown and shipped in our #15 tree container.
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