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Malus 'John Downie' (John Downie Crab Apple) - 9L Pot

Code: TR0157
Malus 'John Downie' (John Downie Crab Apple) - 9L Pot
Malus 'John Downie' (John Downie Crab Apple) - 9L Pot

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.


  • Flower Colour: white
  • Foliage Colour: green in summer, orange/yellow in autumn
  • Approx. Growth Height: 4-4.5m, less on light soils
  • Comes in a: 9L polypot (not a rigid pot)
  • Approx. Height on Arrival: 150-170cm
  • Tree is approx. 3 years old with a 1 year old rootstock
  • Flowering Period: spring (April - May)
  • Harvesting Period: November
  • Tolerance: frost tolerant, fairly drought tolerant once established
  • Growing Habit: bushy
  • Uses: cooking, jams
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
  • Self pollinating: yes - (see 'Pollination' section below)
  • Exposure: sheltered, exposed
  • Rate of Growth: max. height in 20-50 years
  • Scented: barely
  • Wildlife friendly - attracts bees and other pollinating insects


  • Light Requirements: full sun, partial shade
  • Soil Requirements: clay, loamy, sandy
  • Moisture: moist, well-drained, moderately fertile

Caring and Maintenance

Water young trees regularly until roots are well established. Trim annually from mid to late summer. Apply some fertiliser in spring in order to promote healthy growth and a good crop. Optionally, mulch in spring. Check tree ties regularly and loosen any if necessary to avoid rubbing of the stems.


  • Planting Distance: 4.5m (15ft) apart with 6m (20ft) between rows

Suited to almost all well-drained and moderately fertile soils with pH between 4.5 and 7.8 in a sheltered, full sun or partial shade location.
Before planting your tree, clean up all wandering weeds and keep a clean ring around the tree base. Water well during the first year until well established.

Autumn is the best season for planting fruiting trees, as the soil moisture and heat allow easier and faster root establishment and regeneration of damaged root systems.


  • Pollination Group: 4 (self-pollinating)
Crab apple trees are primarily used as ornamental tress and the vast majority, this tree included, are self-fertile. This means that it will produce fruit without another apple tree nearby. However, they do have a secondary use as they can pollinate other apple trees which are not self-fertile. The general consensus is that the two trees should be within 18m (55ft) of each other. Use the pollination groups as a guide to pick a crab apple tree that will pollinate other dessert/cooking apple trees.

The pollination groups are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, according to flowering time. Best results will be obtained if the tree is planted near another apple tree of the same group, or from a group on either side (so an ideal pollination partner for group 4 would be one in group 3, 4 or 5).

Crab Apple Benefits

Crab apple trees are usually grown as ornamental trees. They have stunning large blossoms in spring, foliage that goes from green to golden red/brown, and attractive small fruits in autumn. Bees will be drawn to the blossom, whilst birds will flock to the tree in autumn to feast on its fruits. We are slightly fussier than birds though and as such crab apples are very rarely eaten raw. This is due to their unpalatable sour taste and small size. However, they can be used to create a delicious crab apple jelly.

Optional Extras
  • Fruit Tree Grease Band - 1.75m
    Add +
  • Fruit Tree Greasebands - 1.75m
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Selected items will be included with your purchase

This is an example of our polypot - note the fruit/ornamental trees we stock will vary in appearance according to species and season.
Customer Reviews

Average Rating: 4.0/5 (1 review)

Rating: 4/5

"well packed, no damage to trees"

Reviewed Friday, 11 October 2013

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