Crabapple Not Blooming – Learn Why A Flowering Crabapple Has No Flowers

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Help, my crabapple isn’t flowering! Crabapple trees put on a real show in springtime with dense masses of blossoms in shades ranging from pure white to pink or rosy red. When a flowering crabapple has no flowers, it can be a huge disappointment. There are several possible reasons for a crabapple not blooming, some simple and some more involved. Read on for tips on troubleshooting flowering crabapple problems.

Reasons for No Flowers on Crabapple Trees

Age: When a young crabapple isn’t flowering, it may be because the tree still needs a few more years to grow and mature. On the other hand, an old tree may be past its best blooming years.

Feeding: Although crabapple trees don’t need a lot of fertilizer, they benefit from one light feeding every spring during the first four or five years. Sprinkle a time-release fertilizer on the ground under the tree, out to about 18 inches past the dripline. Mature trees require no fertilizer, but a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch will return nutrients to the soil.

Weather: Crabapple trees can be fickle when it comes to the weather. For example, a dry autumn may result in no flowers on crabapple trees the following spring. Similarly, crabapple trees require a chilling period, so an unseasonably warm winter may create flowering crabapple problems. Erratic weather may also be to blame when one tree blooms and a neighboring tree in the same yard doesn’t, or when a tree displays only a few half-hearted flowers.

Sunlight: Crabapple trees require full sunlight and a too shady location may be the culprit when a crabapple isn’t flowering. Although crabapples don’t require heavy pruning, proper pruning in spring can ensure sunlight reaches all parts of the tree.

Disease: Apple scab is a common fungal disease that affects leaves when they emerge in spring, particularly when conditions are moist. Replace the tree with a disease-resistant cultivar, or try treating the affected tree with a fungicide at leaf emergence, followed by treatments two and four weeks later.

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