Crabapple Trees Brighten Up City Streets
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Each spring, trees bloom in colors of pink and white along Marshfield streets and parks.
“Crabapples are a beautiful addition to any park, street, or landscape and provide multiple benefits to our urban forest,” said City Forester Mark Ryskiewicz. “The City of Marshfield is no exception to this as you can drive down many streets and walk the parks seeing the tree’s beautiful flowers this time of year.”
The crabapple trees make up 28 percent of Marshfield’s total terrace tree population and are ideal for planting underneath utilities, according to Ryskiewicz. Other benefits of the trees include providing flowers for pollinators and fruit for birds and other animals.
Last year’s heavy rainfall led to many crabapple trees losing leaves later in the summer.
“This is apple scab which is a fungus, and like most fungus thrives in wet environments. This disease is mostly cosmetic and the tree will be ok,” said Ryskiewicz.
Steps can be taken early in the growing season to prevent apple scab. It’s recommended that pruning is completed during the winter and that tools are sanitized with a light bleach and water mixture.
“Seasonal wintertime pruning is to target the trees when disease and insects are dormant,” he said. “Tool sanitation is to prevent transfer of disease from tree to tree. In some instances you may need to sanitize your tools after each cut to prevent disease spread from branch to branch.”
Other common diseases affecting crabapple trees include cedar-apple rust, powdery mildew, and fire blight.
The City of Marshfield forestry division is looking to plant different tree species underneath utilities and to add diversity to the urban forest, not exceeding 10 percent of any one type of tree.
“When it comes to planting low growing trees underneath our utilities within the terraces, selection is limited,” said Ryskiewicz. “For the time being, we are holding off on planting crabapples and incorporating other species such as serviceberry, eastern redbud, ironwood, and Japanese tree lilacs.”