Do Crabapple Trees Have Invasive Roots?

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Spring is almost over, and we’re moving into summer. Trees are in bloom, and you may be deciding to plant some of your own. Crabapple trees, in particular, have beautiful blooms. However, before planting them in your yard, you probably have some questions and concerns. One popular question we encounter is whether or not crabapple trees have invasive roots. To give you the best possible answer, we’ve done our homework and outlined the results of our research below.  

Crabapple trees do not have invasive roots nor are the roots aggressive. If crabapple roots grow through home foundations or sidewalks, it’s only because there were already cracks through which the roots could emerge. 

If you’re ready to plant your own crabapples, keep reading for more information that will help you understand the best growing conditions for these beautiful trees. In the remainder of this article, you will learn how deep the roots grow, how far to space crabapples, how fast they grow, and more. 

A crabapple tree bearing lots of crabapple cherries, Do Crabapple Trees Have Invasive Roots?

Do Crabapple Trees Have Invasive Roots? 

If you’ve heard that you shouldn’t plant crabapple trees in your yard because they have invasive roots, you heard wrong. Crabapple tree roots are not invasive or aggressive. In fact, the only known cases of crabapple roots growing through home foundations or sidewalks occurred because there were already cracks for which the roots could emerge. 

With the proper care, you can have a beautiful display of healthy crabapple trees on your lawn. 

Lots of red crabapple berries photographed on a crabapple tree

How Deep are Crabapple Tree Roots?

There isn’t just one type of crabapple tree. There are actually a variety of types with sizes ranging from small to large. The depth of the roots will depend on the size of the tree. However, crabapples typically have surface roots, meaning they don’t grow very deep into the soil. 

If you want to know how far out your crabapple tree’s roots spread, there is a general formula to follow. Take a measuring tape and measure the distance from the tree trunk to the dripline. If you don’t know what the dripline is, it’s the outside edge of the canopy where the leaves hang. Multiply this distance by 2 or 3, and that should tell you approximately how far out the roots extend. For instance, if your tree’s dripline is 12 feet from the tree trunk, the roots probably grow approximately 24 – 36 feet out.

Do Crabapple Trees Grow Fast?

Since there are so many different types of crabapple trees, it’s hard to speak for the growth of them all. Generally speaking, most crabapple trees grow at a moderate rate. However, some grow as much as 36 inches per year, while others grow as slowly as 12 inches per year. 

Below, you will find several types of crabapple trees and their typical sizes:

  • Harvest Gold
  • Louisa
  • Cinderella
  • Profusion
  • Pink Princess
  • Red Jade
  • Sargent Tina

Harvest Gold

If you want one of the largest crabapple trees, the Harvest Gold is an excellent choice. It grows up to 25 ft tall and 25 ft wide. Just keep in mind that the roots will have a large spreading distance. 

Louisa

If you’re looking for a moderate-size crabapple with elegant, weeping branches, the Louisa is the way to go. It grows up to 10 ft tall and 12 ft wide. 

Cinderella

If you don’t want a tree with large roots, the Cinderella crabapple may be the right choice. It is a dwarf species and only grows up to 8 ft tall and 6ft wide. 

Profusion

If you have plenty of space and want a large crabapple, the Profusion gets up to 30 ft tall and 35 ft wide. 

Pink Princess

The Pink Princess is another dwarf crabapple, but it is a low-spreading tree. It only gets up to 8 ft tall and 12 ft wide. However, its roots may have a wide spread, since it is has a low-spreading canopy. 

Red Jade

The Red Jade is a midsize crabapple tree with exquisite weeping branches, growing up to 10 ft tall and 15 ft wide. Its growth rate is fairly slow, growing approximately 12 inches per year. 

Sargent Tina

If you need one of the smallest dwarf crabapples for your garden, the Sargent Tina comes in at only 5 ft tall and 6 ft wide. However, don’t expect a fast growth rate. The Sargent Tina only grows about 12 inches each year. 

How to Care for a Crabapple Tree?

According to Iowa State University, a properly cared for crabapple tree can live anywhere from 50 – 150 years. However, these trees are overly susceptible to diseases. Watering and fertilizing too much can increase that susceptibility. While pruning during the winter is advised, you should disinfect your tools beforehand to prevent the spread of disease. 

Each crabapple tree needs about one inch of water per week. According to the Ohio State University, crabapples grow best in sunny areas, but they can also thrive with less sun. The type of soil really doesn’t matter, since crabapple trees can grow in most any type.

A huge crabapple tree with visible berries growing on the branches

How Far Apart Should You Plant Crabapple Trees?

Before planting your crabapple trees, there are a few basics you need to know. First, you can’t just randomly space your trees. Larger crabapple trees need to be at least 15 ft apart. However, dwarf varieties can be spaced as closely as 6 ft apart. If you plant trees closer together, they will be more likely to grow taller, and the branches won’t spread as much. 

The size of the hole in which you plant your tree is also important. Crabapples need plenty of room for their roots to grow. If you try to plant your tree in a hole that is insufficient, it will cause root strangulation which eventually kills the tree. There is no direct answer for what the size of the planting hole should be since crabapples vary greatly in size. 

When determining the width and depth of the hole, look at the size of your tree’s root ball. The hole should be as deep as the root ball is long. Measure the width of the root ball, digging your hole 2 – 3 times that width. This will ensure your tree has ample room for its roots to grow and mature. 

How Close to Your House Can You Plant a Crabapple Tree?

The proximity of crabapples to your house really just depends on personal preference. Are you planting a large species that you would like to overlook your home? If you have a one story house, you should plant the trees approximately 6 – 8 feet away from the structure. This will allow the tree to hang over the building at maturity. 

If you have a two-story home and would like to plant a large crabapple tree nearby, you should give your plant about 15 feet of space from the house. This will give your tree plenty of room to allow the canopy to fully mature and hang beautifully over your home. 

You can also start your crabapple out by planting it in a planter. It should survive several years in a pot, but it will not grow as large. Crabapples living in planters also do not live as long as those planted in the ground. After a few years, you should consider transplanting your tree from the pot into your yard. 

An up close photo of a crabapple fruit

Summary

Crabapple trees are beautiful and produce vibrant flowers during the spring and tasty fruit during the summer. There is a vast selection of crabapple trees from which to choose, including very large trees as well as small dwarf trees. No matter which type you decide to plant, you won’t have to worry about invasive roots. Crabapple roots will not overtake your yard or destroy your home and sidewalk. 

To learn about other trees with non-invasive roots, read this post on our blog. You can also find more flowering trees for your landscape here: 15 Fruit Trees With White Flowers

Don’t make the mistake of using the wrong cleaners on your home. Some products are toxic to plants. See our picks for the best plant-safe cleaners here: 7 Best Plant-Safe Exterior House Cleaners

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