In this article, I would like to introduce a small tree – the Malus sylvestris crab apple tree – which has an all-year-round appeal and is ideal for tempting birds and insects into your garden. A single tree can be home to over ninety insect species and the colourful autumn fruit provides much-needed food for birds in the autumn, as well as a source of tasty crab apple jelly.

Blossom of the crab apple tree (Malus sylvestris)

Blossom of the crab apple tree (Malus sylvestris)


The lovely pink and white blossom (as shown above) is a real feature in the spring and the many different varieties provide for good choices suitable for small urban gardens in London, such as those in Wandsworth or in potentially larger spaces in Wimbledon and Kingston.

Facts about Malus sylvestris

Malus sylvestris is native to the UK, but there are many exotic and hybrid species.

Crab apples are hardy and grow in most soils, and do best in full sun. One of the best ornamental crabs is Malus ‘John Downie’, a spreading tree that grows up to 8 metres tall and has slightly elongated, red-flushed orange crab apples in the autumn.

Malus ‘Red Sentinel’ has clusters of cherry-sized red fruits. Purple-leaved varieties such as M. ‘Royalty’ and M. x purpurea ‘Lemoinei’ can be used to contrast with the greens of other trees in summer.

For the smaller garden M.’ Gorgeous’ is an excellent choice with bright red fruits and a compact habit.

Malus sylvestris tree surgery for London

If you have a Malus sylvestris tree in your London garden and have any concerns about it or if you would like to have one or more expertly planted, Take A Bough Tree Care would be delighted to offer free, expert advice. Our South West London tree surgeons cover areas such as Wimbledon, Wandsworth, and many more local locations, so if you need our help don’t hesitate to click above and call us now for friendly advice and a free quote.

Written by

Toby Douglas is the founder of Take A Bough Tree Care. After university in Aberystwyth, Toby made the decision to study Arboriculture at Merrist Wood, in Surrey. In 2001 he successfully completed a National Certificate in Horticulture, and a National Diploma in Arboriculture, then worked for two years subcontracting to large and respected companies in order to gain the practical experience to compete successfully for both private and corporate contacts once Take a Bough Tree Care was launched

"My trees had been cut back beautifully, taking off the perfect amount, and leaving them in a beautiful shape. All was done with absolutely no mess left. And all for a brilliant price."

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