Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Crabby About Crabapples October 7, 2008

The previous gardener at my place got a couple of free crabapple trees from the city and planted them in the parking strip. These ones don’t have very showy flowers, their fruits are tiny and useless (the birds even seem to shun them), and their habit is spindly to say the least. They are really unimpressive trees and I am working up the energy to get an official permit to take them out and put in something better.

My weird crabapple trees

Would you agree that they need to go? I know some people love crabapples, particularly their flowers. At the UW Arboretum the other weekend, I did see a nice, old Malus sargentii specimen covered with deep-red fall fruit, and I imagine its spring blossoms are spectacular. Although it’s a beauty, this tree has a low, spreading habit, so it’s not very practical for an urban gardener like me.

Crabapple fruit at UW Arboretum

Any votes for what trees to plant once the sad, spindly crabs are gone? It can’t be anything that gets too big, as we have a sliver of a mountain view from our front windows that we’d like to preserve. I’m also concerned about root issues, since I want to continue to plant drought-tolerant perennials and some annuals/veggies in that area.


4 Responses to “Crabby About Crabapples”

  1. Cynthia Says:

    I’m not the greatest when it comes to trees but what about a Japanese Maple? They do so well up here and are just so beautiful. I absolutely love them.

  2. Aerie-el Says:

    Ooooo, I can see why you’re crabby about this sad little crabapple tree. Thinking of another plant to take its place is an exciting opportunity!

    One of my favorite trees is witch hazel (Hamamelis). It has a cool structure, awesome fragrance from the blooms in the winter/spring, and is lovely the rest of the year. Deciduous.

    A few of my other faves…pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus- native plant), red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea-native plant), mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii–native plant)–lovely fragrant flowers, late spring. Deciduous.

    If you’re looking for an evergreen, any dwarf Chamaecyparis/hinoki cypress. I saw some at Squawk Mountain Nursery in Issaquah the other day.

    In any case, I hope that you are allowed to take out the sad specimen. It’ll be fun to learn what you choose to take its place!

  3. Megan Says:

    It feels so liberating to take something out that you don’t like, it’s one of those rare moments in gardening where you get instant gratification.
    I’m a big fan of stewartia, and various dwarf evergreen magnolias, or styrax japonica.

  4. […] spruce, urban gardening I have been thinking of replacing the sad and spindly previous-owner crabapple trees in my parking strip, and although I haven’t gotten around to it yet, it’s fun to peruse the options and […]

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