Thursday, June 12, 2014

More to crab about! Yay!

For the past couple of years, I've kept my eye out for a crabapple tree to replace the one that did so poorly behind the privacy fence.  (It dropped leaves prematurely and by the end of June it was always bare, so I had it cut down.  Why keep a tree that always looks dead?)

Anyway, I couldn't afford trees from local nurseries.  Prices were outrageous.

Big box stores got poor trees with little selection.  (I still feel blessed to have gotten the Robinsons when I did.)

And what with the horrible winter killing off all my nice butterfly bushes that I trained to look like small trees, another bed (the bed with the Black Knight) went all naked.

I am LOATHE to buy trees off the internet.  I need to see them, check the trunk, bark, root system, etc.

So I was in a funk - 3 years since the big crab came down and now I decided that the b'fly bed should also sport a crabapple.

And I wanted the blossoms to be white.

I went everywhere affordable and found - nothing.  Oh sure, HD had some $50 Snowdrifts which I would have lusted after, but the trunks were tall, thin and splits.  I knew they were just heartache in a tub.

Then, just last week, I visited a local nursery that I'd totally forgotten about for years.  I pulled in and first thing I look for anymore is for the tall stuff back in the corners.  Sure enough, there was clump of stuff.

I walked through dead semi-dwarf apples, some semi-dwarf sour cherries (Montmorency! Oh, if only I didn't have deer!!), a spindly Prairie Fire crab and a couple of other things I now forget.

Then, at the end, I found 2 crabapples.  They'd been there for some time.  One had no tag and the other had one so broken and faded that I could only just make out "sarge...".   Sargent??  Omigosh.  Almost potbound, full of suckers, grown tilted, but the trunk was straight.  Hey!  Somebody!  I need help back here!

Click to ENLARGE
I found the owner and she confirmed it was Sargent.  As for the 2nd, slightly taller tree?  "SugarTyme".  Be still my heart.   SugarTyme will grow 12-15' high and wide.  With white flowers.  Perfect for behind the fence.

Sargent will grow 5-7' tall and perhaps 8' wide.  Perfect for the b'fly bed.

Now for the 2 big questions:

How much?    $50 each.  I remained calm.

How much for delivery?  $10.  Total.

Bingo!!  The deal was made and dollars were exchanged for hoped-for beauty.

A couple hours later the trees arrived.

They were in 15 gallon pots.  You can see how suckered the Sargent was and how tilted both were in their pots. (1st pic)

I trimmed them up, snipped out the crossed branches and propped them so the trunks would be straight.

Now they looked like real beauties. (2nd pic)

It took me a couple days to get my helper to come and plant and that's what we did yesterday.

The SugarTyme went in easily in the loose loamy soil where the old crabapple was.  Planting at an angle so the trunk was straight and true, it looks great. (4th pic)

The Sargent took us nearly 3 times as long.  The b'fly bed was on top of where the Blaze Maple had been removed 2 springs ago.  While I had the stump ground out, we found that just 8" below the surface it was still solid with stump.  Grrrr.   We finally gave up trying to break through that barrier and moved a couple feet toward the house.  Same frustrating results.

It was hot.  We were tired.  But I was determined that the tree WOULD LIVE THERE.  So we went to the very back of the bed and YAY, we finally found the edge of the submerged maple bed and were able to dig a good hole for the Sargent.  Downside - the soil there is just mostly clay - and with all the rain we've been getting, it was a lot like slicing jello.  We ended up adding buckets of good compost to the soil before backfilling the hole.

The final result - just wonderful!  (3rd pic)

Lots of happy happy joy joy dancing for the rest of the day. :-D


  1. Congrats!
    It's always when we least expect things that we get a nice surprise. May they bring you many years of pleasure!
    : )

  2. Yeah, sometimes even a blind squirrel can find a nut! I'll share their progress. Thanks for celebrating with me. :-D

  3. Both look great in their new homes. Hoping your care and TLC will help them recover from pot-bound roots as you nurture them to be strong and happy :}

    1. At least I'm giving them a fighting chance. Crabapples are just the perfect ornamental tree and the birds love the fruit.


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