Selection Preferences for Crabapple Cultivars and Species

in HortTechnology

Crabapples (Malus spp.) are commonly planted ornamental trees in public and private landscapes. Hundreds of selections are available that represent a wide range of growth habits, ornamental traits, and varying degrees of resistance/susceptibility to disease. We distributed 1810 questionnaires in 13 states (Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania) to members of either nursery and landscape associations or the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ACLA, Herndon, Va.) to identify crabapple preferences across a broad geographic region of the United States. We also were interested in learning if regional disease problems were important to green-industry professionals as they decide which crabapples to include in their inventories. Our respondent population numbered 511 (28.2% response rate). A large percentage of respondents (79.4%) said their retail clients focused mostly on fl ower color when choosing crabapples for the home landscape, while commercial clients showed slightly more interest in growth habit (32.5%) than fl ower color (28.7%). `Prairifire' was identified by respondents in all regions, except the west-central (Colorado and Utah), as the crabapple most frequently recommended to clients when tree size is not important. Respondents in the west-central region most often (48.7%) recommend the fruitless selection `Spring Snow'. Respondents in all regions, except the west-central, identified apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) as the most prevalent crabapple disease and named scab-susceptible `Radiant' as the selection most frequently discontinued.

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