Description & Overview

Donald Wyman Crabapple is a highly regarded crabapple based on its pretty bright red, persistent fruit, its great foliage, and abundant and long-flowering attributes. Masses of pink buds burst open in mid-spring to reveal pure white flowers with a mildly sweet fragrance. Dark green foliage boasts showy, red, 3/8″ crabapples in early fall. Donald Wyman matures to about 20 to 25 feet tall and wide with a naturally lower canopy clearance, usually around four feet or so making it a nice smaller statured tree.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Variety of North American Native

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 20-25 feet

Mature Spread: 20-25 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Upright, spreading, broad

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Average to moist, well-drained

Flower: Pink buds open to white flowers, 1 ¾" across, fragrant, 5-petaled

Bloom Period: April – May, Mid-spring

Foliage: Dark green, serrated

Fall Color: Muted gold

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Glossy, bright-red, 3/8", persistent

Suggested Uses

Crabapples grow best and produce the most flowers and fruit in full sun. They can tolerate partial shade, but they will not flower as prolifically. Though adaptable to many conditions, the soil should not be allowed to dry out. Donald Wyman boasts high pollution and salt tolerance and can thrive in urban landscapes.

Plant Donald Wyman Crabapple in a city garden or a country cottage garden setting. Planted near a window, the sweet fragrance and showy white flowers in mid-spring can be appreciated, along with the ornamental red crabapples that will persist into winter.

This crabapple is a good option for planting around a patio or by walkways since the fruit won’t drop on the patio when people are outside enjoying the weather.

Donald Wyman Crabapple is a highly regarded crabapple based on its pretty bright red, persistent fruit, its great foliage, and abundant and long-flowe…
Donald Wyman Crabapple is a highly regarded crabapple based on its pretty bright red, persistent fruit, its great foliage, and abundant and long-flowe…

Wildlife Value

Many moths, butterflies, bees, and birds feed on crabapples. They are a host plant to the Unicorn Caterpillar (Schizaur unicornis), Apple Sphinx (Sphinx gordius), Wild Cherry Sphinx (Sphinx drupiferarum), Blinded Sphinx (Paonias excaecata), Large Lace-border Moth (Scopula limboundata), Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Orthosia hibisci), Harris’s Three-spot (Harrisimemna trisignata), White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata), Woolly Gray (Lycia ypsilon), Four-spotted Granite (Itame coortaria), Common Metarranthis Moth (Metarranthis hypochraria), Dowdy Pinion (Lithophane unimodal), Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia), Reveresed Haploa moth (Haploa reversa), Saw-Wing (Euchlaena serrata), Scallop Moth (Cepphis armataria), Promethea moth (Callosamia promethea), Interrupted Dagger Moth (Acronicta interrupta), Many-dotted Appleworm Moth (Balsa malana), and Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Moth (Choreutis pariana). Butterflies that use crabapples include Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus), Red-spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), and Striped Hairstreak (Saturium liparops strigosum).

Crabapple flowers are cross-pollinated by honeybees, bumblebees, long-horned bees, and other long-tongued bees.

Starlings, Northern Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, House Finches, Eastern Bluebirds, American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, and Tufted Titmice will feed on the fruits once winter has sweetened them up.

Maintenance Tips

Light pruning may be necessary to keep plants healthy. It is always a good idea to talk with a certified arborist (insert link here), but any light pruning should be done in late winter after the threat of extreme cold has passed.

Make sure you have a mulch ring around the base of the tree, this will help retain soil moisture and reduce stress upon the plant. Supplemental watering is needed during times of drought.

Donald Wyman Crabapple is a highly regarded crabapple based on its pretty bright red, persistent fruit, its great foliage, and abundant and long-flowe…

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: No
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Deer and rabbits are known to nibble on flower buds, twigs, and bark.

Donald Wyman has good scab and mildew resistance, and excellent rust and fire blight resistance.

Leaf Lore

The genus name Malus is from Ancient Greek meaning “apple.” The cultivated name is in honor of Dr. Donald Wyman, Horticulturist at the Arnold Arboretum.

Even though eating the fruit raw is considered to be rather unpalatable due to the bitterness, it can be made into jellies, ciders, and vinegar.

Companion Plants

For a bird garden, plant alongside:

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Written by Beth DeLain