Description & Overview

A sight to behold, Spring Snow Crabapple explodes with fragrant, white flowers in early to mid-spring, accenting pretty, shiny emerald-green leaves. Fruitless, this cultivar is perfect for those who want the beauty of a crabapple without the mess of fallen fruit.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 15-25 feet

Mature Spread: 15-20 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Oval, upright

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Well-drained, average

Flower: White, fragrant, single, 5-parted

Bloom Period: April-May, early to mid-spring

Foliage: Green, ovate, up to 3" long

Fall Color: Yellow

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Fruitless

Suggested Uses

Crabapples prefer full sun and do their best flowering in at least eight hours of sunlight, in well-drained soil. Though some shade is tolerable, flowering will not be as wonderful. Once established, they are drought tolerant but until then, they do appreciate moist soil.

Spring Snow Crabapple is perfect for sites where messy dropped fruit would have made it unwelcome such as by patios, decks, walkways, or pools. No fruit means no mess! Tolerant of pollution and compacted soils, Spring Snow is a good option for parking lot islands, buffer strips, or median strip plantings.

The pure white flowers, oval form, and lack of fruit make it appropriate for a more formal landscape as a specimen or focal point.

You can enjoy the beauty of a crabapple fresh out of winter, without having to worry about your dog or a child eating the fruit!

Wildlife Value

Due to the lack of fruit, the wildlife value for this crabapple is limited to its flowers, bark, and tree structure. Luckily, there are still plenty of species that can take advantage of what it does have to offer.

Crabapples are the host plant for 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).

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

Other visitors to the flowers include Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus), Red-spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus), and Striped Hairstreaks (Saturium liparops strigosum).

Maintenance Tips

Light pruning may be needed to keep the tree healthy. It’s 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 to help retain soil moisture and reduce stress upon the plant. Supplemental watering is needed during times of drought.

Pests/Problems

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

This variety is susceptible to scab but has excellent resistance to fire blight.

Deer and rabbits are known to nibble on flower buds, twigs, and bark. Deer protection may be needed on younger trees.

Leaf Lore

Spring Snow Crabapple was discovered growing in a hedgerow of Malus baccata ‘Dolgo’ seedlings in Parkside, Saskatchewan in 1963. The patent was issued in 1966.

Roasted crabapples are traditionally added to wassail, which contained either ale or cider along with sugar and spices. According to legend, if you sleep under a crabapple tree, you’ll be carried away by fairies!

Greek and Roman mythology referred to crabapples as symbols of love and beauty.

Companion Plants

Depending on how much space you have to play with and your light conditions, companion plants to grow alongside Spring Snow Crabapple include:

  • Spruce (Picea spp.)
  • Firs (Abies spp.)
  • False Cypress (Chamaecyparis spp.)

To provide tremendous contrast, Spring bulbs and ephemerals and contrasting pops of color include:

  • Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris cristata)
  • Large White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
  • Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba)
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

To create a fragrance garden, plant Spring Snow Crabapple with:

  • Linden and Basswood (Tilia spp.)
  • Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
  • American Yellowwood (Clastrastis kentukea)
  • Ann Magnolia (Magnolia x ‘Ann’)
  • Sargent Cherry (Prunus sargentii)

If used as a street tree in an expanse of space, other great street trees include:

  • Crimean Linden (Tilia x euchlora)
  • New Horizon Elm (Ulmus x ‘New Horizon’)
  • State Street Maple (Acer miyabei ‘Morton’)
  • Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
  • Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica)
  • Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
  • Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
  • Red oak (Quercus rubra)
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Written by Beth DeLain