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Malus 'John Downie' | Crabapple Tree

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Long lasting scarlet orange fruits and stunning pure white blossom

Malus 'John Downie' is a heavy-fruiting tree which produces distinctive scarlet orange fruits, which remain throughout autumn and into winter.

As with all crab apples, 'John Downie' is very popular with bees, and thus will bring more pollinators into your garden, which is a blessing if you have other apple trees. 'John Downie' is especially good as a pollinator for all apple trees, and flowers throughout the pollination season, which gives it more chance to pollinate other trees.

The fruits of this tree can sometimes be eaten fresh, although they can be sour. They are better stewed and used as jams, as they have high levels of pectin, which helps with the setting of jam.

Variety Information

  • Habit: Bushy
  • Flower Colour: White/Pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green (Summer), Orange/Yellow (Autumn)
  • Fruit Colour: Yellow/Red
  • Fruit Uses: Jelly-Making, Cider-Making
  • Features: Spring Blossom, Attractive Fruits, Autumn Colour

Size Options

  • Supplied As: Bare Root / 9L Pot / 12L Pot
  • Height On ArrivalTitle: 1.5m Bare Root Primrose-Supplied Tree / 1.5m 9L Pot Primrose-Supplied Tree / 1.5m 12L Pot Frank P. Matthews-Supplied Tree 
  • Supplied By: Primrose / Frank P. Matthews
We have developed an eco friendly polypot that is currently in use across our 9 litre range. This polypot has less than 20% of the plastic used by a regular pot, and is importantly recyclable. Polypots also prevent root spiraling, encouraging a healthier root system.

All trees arrive in an extra thick cardboard box with a clamp to hold their pot in place. This prevents them from moving around on their journey.

Nursery staff will wrap the roots of our bare root trees and use compost to keep them moist during transportation. This extra protection prevents them from drying out, allowing for a flying start. We also use the same specialised box that our potted trees have to keep them nice and secure as they make their way to your home.

Please note: where your plant is supplied with a pot, your plant's 'Height on Arrival' includes the pot

How your order will arrive
Bare root and containerised trees have differing planting requirements, detailed below:

  • Watering: Bare root trees should have their roots soaked in water for up to 2 hours before planting, while with containerised trees, it is important to drench their root ball before planting.
  • Pruning: Another difference is that for bare root trees, it is useful to prune their woody roots back a few inches. However, for containerised trees, you should free any spiralized roots growing around their rootball's circumference.
  • Planting: With bare root trees, you should dig a hole to enable the graft point to be above the soil, while with containerised trees, the pot should sit no lower than an inch below the ground.
Bare root and containerised trees also share planting requirements, detailed below:

  • With both, you should dig a hole that is twice the radius of their rootball. Stake your trees no more than 2 - 3 inches from the stem, and make sure that they are pointing away from the prevailing wind.
  • Fill the planting hole with a mix of compost and garden soil, finishing with fertiliser and mycorrhizal fungi. Take care to not compress the soil.
  • Once you are happy with your efforts, give your tree a generous watering.
  • Add mulch on top (this can be bark and wood chippings, compost, manure, leaf-mould, and stones), and ensure that these do not touch the stem of the tree.
  • Tie the stake to your tree (and leave space for growth), and place a rabbit guard around your tree to protect it from harmful pests.
  • Apply fertiliser and replace decomposed mulch come spring. In autumn, remove fallen leaves to prevent the risk of disease. You should also make sure that the ties are not rubbing your tree.

Advice on hot and droopy plants

If your plants are looking a little wilted right now, don’t worry! Plants like to be filled with water to keep their structure, and when it’s hot that water evaporates.

Just give them an off-schedule watering and they’ll be right as rain in no time! Be careful not to flood them - plants don’t like extremes.

Crabapple trees are easy to grow. Their growth and output will likely be excellent providing you follow our planting and care instructions. Below we address some common query topics:

  • Hardiness: Some species of crabapple are native to the UK, and the species that aren't are from much colder regions, so the UK's mild winters will not affect your plant.
  • Position: Crabapple trees benefit from being planted in full sun. Planting them in a sheltered spot also helps them put greater resources into flowering.
  • Soil: Soil types can be an unwelcome confusion as many plants will adapt to their conditions. Nonetheless, less than ideal conditions will certainly limit your crabapple’s growth. Waterlogged soils will starve your plant of oxygen, which plays a key role in photosynthesis; causing its roots to rot and creating an optimal environment for disease. Similarly, compressed soils can starve a tree of oxygen and water, so do not compress their soil when planting.
More Information
Is Collection/Mix? No
Needs Ericaceous Compost? No

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