How to grow crab apple trees | Alys Fowler

Our gardening expert on how to select and grow the perfect crab apple tree

They hang like lanterns or Christmas baubles, a whole tree heavily laden with fruit when all else is bare. Where many crab apples have lost their fruit by November, a few species and cultivars will hold on to theirs well into the new year.

If you nibble one – and a nibble is often all you can do as many are the size of cherries – you’ll find they are tannin rich, stripping your mouth of moisture, though sometimes they have beautiful flavours beneath that. It takes many cold nights and sharp frosts before these apples soften and become desirable to birds, hence why they persist on trees deep into winter.

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