Crabapple (MALUS PRAIRIEFIRE) - 'Prairiefire'
This highly regarded accent tree is smothered in a blanket of rich fuschia flowers in mid spring which emerge from red flower buds before the leaves come on. The show of floral beauty is further enhanced by the glossy dark red leaves that follow and beautiful, smooth burgundy bark of ‘Prairiefire’. Leaves then transition to a dark green with reddish tinge as spring fades into summer and small purple fruit forms and persists into late fall on this upright, ornamental tree. Fall changes the leaves into lovely shades of yellow-orange. 'Prairiefire' is also noted for excellent resistance to scab and other disease.
The beautiful and popular crabapple 'Prairiefire' grows to a mature height of 15 feet and width of 15 feet. It is cold hardy to USDA Hardiness zone 4. Like other crabs, it needs full sunlight and well-drained soil. It prefers average to moist soil conditions and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. Ideally, it does best in acidic loams, but adapts to a wide range of soils and is not excessively particular to soil type or pH. Furthermore, it is highly tolerant of urban pollution and somewhat drought tolerant once established. lt has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more. Crabapples need occasional maintenance so prune in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. DO NOT prune in spring when it will provide open cuts where fireblight bacterium can reside.
'Prairifire' reportedly has high disease resistance.
In general, however, crabapples can be affected by scab, fire blight, rusts, leaf spot and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests are of lesser concern and include tent caterpillars, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers and scale. Spider mites may occur.