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How Long Do Crabapple Trees Live? (And Signs That Yours Is Dying)

How Long Do Crabapple Trees Live? (And Signs That Yours Is Dying)

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Jewels of the landscape, crabapples are magnificent trees that create a timeless four-season visual impact. In the spring, the crabapple tree emits bright green foliage with swelling blossoms in soft pink hues replaced with tiny fruit during summer.

Finally, rich, fall-colored foliage gives way to bare branches with long-lasting crabapple fruit in the winter. So let’s see how long these majestic trees live.

Crabapple trees live between 30 to 70 years, depending on the climate, care, and disease conditions. The amount of stress exposure the crabapple undergoes gradually increases the tree’s expiration. Although crabapple trees can live up to 70 years, they typically bear less fruit after 40 years.

All trees experience different stressors during their lifetime and have various capacities for stressful conditions that lead to an expiration date. The gap between 30 and 70 years is pretty large, so let’s look at the perfect conditions for a crabapple tree to ensure it hits and hopefully even exceeds the latter age.

How Long Do Crabapples Trees Live?

Crabapple trees can live for decades with the appropriate care. The typical lifespan for crabapple trees is between 30 and 70 years; however, there are a handful of cases where these beauties lived up to 100 years.

The crabapple’s lifespan vastly depends on each tree’s climate, care, and exposure to pests and diseases. Stressful environments and illnesses will gradually decrease the tree’s life expectancy.

Depending on its climate and conditions, a typical crabapple tree will start to bear fruit around two to five years. In addition, crabapples will fruit well up to 40 years and then experience a rapid decline in blossoms and fruit.

Therefore, crabapple trees older than 40 years will need more care and supplemental feeding to stay healthy and disease resistant.

Signs Indicating a Dying Crabapple Tree

Like any other tree, the crabapple is susceptible to harsh weather conditions, health issues, and pest infestations that can eventually lead to death if you do not treat them.

It’s best to keep a watchful eye on your crabapple tree to prevent health conditions from exacerbating. Monitor the tree at least monthly to ensure the crabapple is healthy.

You’ll usually be able to see signs of the newly occurring health issues before it becomes severe. Recognizing the early symptoms can be the difference between potentially losing the sick tree or reviving and saving the crabapple tree.

Let’s take a look at the three most prevalent signs indicating that a crabapple tree is dying.

The Foliage Appear Different than Usual

Suppose you notice changes in the crabapple tree’s foliage like yellowing or browning leaves or smaller, wilting leaflets. In that case, this is generally an indication that the climate changes are too severe for the tree or underlying issues and diseases.

Dying Branches

Branches that start to crack, discolor, flake, fall off, or develop mushroom-like growth are a general indication that the crabapple tree has a disease or pest infestation.

If the entire branch starts to crack and lose all its foliage, you’ll need to take serious action to treat the crabapple tree before it dies.

Discolored Fruit

Changes in the crabapple’s fruit are the third significant indication of underlying health issues.

If the apples suddenly appear smaller, covered in spots, or feel soft to the touch, the crabapple tree may be suffering from climate issues, pests, or fungal infection.

Common Pests and Diseases that Infect a Crabapple Tree

The most common diseases that affect a crabapple tree includes the following:

  • Apple Scab
  • Cedar-Apple Rust
  • Fire Blight
  • Black Rot
  • Necteria Canker
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Japanese Beetles

Regular sanitary pruning, leaf collection, and fungicidal treatments help to control these occurring problems.

How to Revive a Dying Crabapple Tree?

Fortunately, you can revive a crabapple tree if you identify and treat the health problems as soon as possible.

Here’s how.

  1. Identify the Issue and Apply Appropriate Treatment

First, identify the standard issue to treat the crabapple tree. You can start by examining the tree’s condition, focusing on the three previously mentioned prevalent issues.

In addition, examine the main aspects of the environmental setting, including the soil’s health, water regimen, sunlight exposure, and fertilizer to adjust its conditions.

Then, treat the health issues as soon as possible to encourage the crabapple tree to restore itself. This process typically involves adjusting or improving the care regimen and removing pesticides or fungicidal treatments of pest infestations.

  1. Prune Dead Branches, Leaves, or Fruit of a Crabapple Tree

After treating the crabapple tree, you’ll want to prune the sick or dead leaves, branches, and fruit of the tree. As tedious as pruning a large tree can be, it’s best to cut to the chase as soon as possible to encourage new, healthy branches and foliage.

Use a pair of sharp, sterilized pruning shears to trim the crabapple tree. Consider using a clean hand saw to cut off thick branches.

Lastly, only remove the dead or sickly branches when pruning the crabapple tree, leaving the healthy branches and foliage intact.

  1. Provide Supplemental Feeding

Before generously feeding the crabapple tree, it’s best to do a basic soil test using a DIY pH testing kit. Crabapple trees generally prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.6 and 6.5.

After conducting the soil test, apply a suitable fertilizer to improve the soil’s quality, providing an ideal growing environment.

In addition to fertilizing the crabapple tree, old mulch can attract pests and diseases. So, if the mulch appears old, infected, or has dried out, consider removing the mulch and replacing it with fresh mulch.

Be sure to apply a thin layer; this will help prevent fungi, bacteria, and insect infestations from forming.

Perfect Care Requirements for Crabapple Tree

Lastly, it only makes sense that ideal climate settings will only encourage the healthy growth and hardiness of the crabapple tree. Less stress will improve the likelihood of the tree surviving well beyond 30 years.

Temperate and Humidity

Crabapples thrive best in temperate regions where they do not experience extreme fluctuations.

In addition, crabapple trees prefer average humidity levels above 60% can encourage fungal and bacterial growth.


Most crabapple varieties generate maximum foliage and fruit production in full sun. Although the crabapple tree can survive in partial shade, eight or more hours of direct sunlight guarantee ample blossoms and growth and ensure a healthy, thriving tree.


Crabapple trees are tolerant to a wide variety of soil types. However, the primary requirement is well-draining, slightly acidic soil.

More so, rich, loamy soil with plenty of organic amendments encourage root development, and a natural mulch will help cool the roots cool and keep them moist during the summer.

The better the soil, the less stress the crabapple experiences, adding to its longevity.


A mature crabapple tree has moderate water requirements and typically exhibits a measure of drought tolerance.

Therefore, water the crabapple tree every second week during the first year to establish the tree or provide deep watering bi-monthly during drought periods.

Sufficient watering minimizes the crabapple’s stress levels. More so, it prevents an established crabapple tree from using reserve energy supplies to survive, limiting blossom and fruit production and leading to earlier expiration.


Most crabapples do not typically need fertilizer if they have appropriate soil conditions. However, even healthy soil can lose nutrients over time.

Therefore, as a general rule, provide a small amount of compost and composted manure around the tree’s roots during the spring. In addition, apply a thin layer of natural mulch to keep soil nutrient-rich.

Whereas if you conduct a soil test and find that it’s subpar, use a well-balanced and slow-releasing fertilizer to prevent unnecessary stress that will cause an early expiration for the crabapple tree.

Final Thoughts

There you have it; a crabapple tree generally lives between 30 and 70 years, depending on its climate, stress, and level of care.

So, to ensure a long-lasting and glorious blooming crabapple tree, try to avoid exposing the tree to stressful conditions and ensure that you provide appropriate care to increase the chances of a long-life expectancy.


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