Wild Crab Apple Hedge Plants

  • Free Delivery
Free Returns
1 Year Guarantee
General Info Edible Fruit / Nuts, Wildlife Value
Shade Full Sun, Partial Shade
Area Coastal Areas, Exposed Windy Areas, Frost Pockets, Scotland & The North
Soil Good, Well Drained, Acidic, Alkaline/Chalky, Poor/Dry
Colour White/Cream
Type Hedging, Native
Ornamental Autumn Colour, Berries
  Buy 11 or more bareroot plants and save

SIZES 1-10 11-5051-250251-10001001+
40/60 cm Bareroot Out of Stock £2.52Out of Stock£2.02Out of Stock£1.76Out of Stock£1.63Out of Stock£1.51
60/80 cm Bareroot Out of Stock £3.12Out of Stock£2.50Out of Stock£2.18Out of Stock£2.03Out of Stock£1.87
90/120 cm Bareroot Out of Stock £3.60Out of Stock£2.88Out of Stock£2.52Out of Stock£2.34Out of Stock£2.16
  Prices include VAT(where applicable)



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Malus sylvestris: Bareroot Hedging

The native, wild Crab apple tree, Malus sylvestris, is an excellent hedging plant, commonly planted in mixed country hedges, and pretty enough to make a decent ornamental tree for an average sized garden.

The glossy leaves have serrated edges and turn yellow in Autumn. The glorious white and pink blossom is sweetly scented.

To a varying degree depending on age and location, it has spines.

The plants on this page are young saplings, ideal for planting as hedging or in woodland projects. Browse our ornamental Crab apple trees here (these are sold in larger sizes), or view our selection of native hedging and our full range of hedging plants.

Wild Crab apple hedge plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March).

Choosing a size:
For a hedge, we generally recommend that you use plants that are graded at 40/60cms or 60/80cms. They are cheaper than large plants, easier to handle, and they will establish well in poor conditions. Use the larger, 90/120cms tall plants if you want a high hedge quickly, or if you are planting them near apple trees as pollination partners.
All our hedge plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).


  • Sizes available: 40/60cm, 60/80cm, 90/120cm
  • Almost any soil except very poor or waterlogged.
  • Tolerates dappled shade.
  • Edible fruit.
  • Fragrant white blossom with hints of pink.
  • Height: To 9m
  • Pollinates orchard apple trees
  • Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-March

Growing Crab Apples

Native crab apples are very tough and will grow pretty much anywhere except in full shade or on very poor, sandy, dry soils.

These hardy plants have a shrubby habit when grown as a tree, with densely packed, twiggy branches. They tend not to grow into an even form without a guiding hand to shape them, but be selective with your pruning cuts; too much trimming will just cause the tree to produce loads of new stems (this quality makes them such a great hedge plant), so focus on removing inward growing stems, and if you want to remove a large branch, consider doing it in chunks over two or three years if you can.

Spacing a Crab apple hedge:

Standard country hedging: plant at 3 per metre, 33cm apart in a single row, or 5 per metre in a staggered double row, which has a W shape viewed top-down.

Wild Crab Apple in your Garden

As a hedge, it is invariably mixed with Hawthorn to give it more strength, and because it will look even lovelier with the different blossom, leaf colour, and fruit. It is a classic component of mixed country hedging.

It makes a decent, if unevenly shaped, ornamental tree for an average sized garden.

It's long flowering season makes it an easy pollination partner for orchard apples: for this purpose, we recommend John Downie or Golden Hornet, which also have better quality fruit.

Did You Know?

The origin of the name crab in this context is uncertain. It could be derived from Old Norse for wild apple, or it could be related to their taste being likened to a sour, unlikeable, crabby person. However, the most likely etymology was put forward by our neighbour's nine-year-old, a renowned apple scholar, whose extensive research shows that the mature tree's branches look like crab legs.

Malus sylvestris means "forest apple". Modern orchard apples (Malus domestica), with their big, sweet, juicy fruit are not naturally occurring plants; they were bred by humans over several millennia from wild apples such as these and the Asian apple tree, Malus sieversii. Recent genetic research has shown that modern apples are mostly derived from Malus sieversii, with a dash of genes from Malus sylvestris in the mix.

This is the true wild European crab apple: in general terms, a crab apple is any apple tree with small, hard fruit. Orchard apple varieties do not come true from seed, so their offspring are almost always classed as a crab.

For the most part, crab apples are too hard and astringent to eat fresh, but make a splendid apple sauce or jelly, and cider brewers often add a bit of the juice to their brews to enhance the flavour, especially when the mix of apples is considered to be too sweet.

  • Small Box

    Small boxes

    (Orders containing seedlings or rooted cuttings)


    including VAT per order


    For ORDERS
    Over £60 inc VAT

  • Small box

    (All barerooted plants under 1.2 metres in height. Please note: all trees are charged at the trees and hedging rate.)


    including VAT per order


    For ORDERS
    Over £60 inc VAT

  • Medium box

    (Any pots up to
    and incl. 7.5L)


    including VAT per order


    For ORDERS
    Over £100 inc VAT

  • Trees & Hedging

    (For all orders of trees of any size, and all bareroot plants 1.2 metres and over in height)


    including VAT per order

  • Pallets

    (For all orders of root balls,
    and large orders, a pallet
    price will be automatically
    applied at checkout)


    including VAT per order

*Delivery to mainland Britain & the Isle of Wight ONLY. Surcharges to the Isle of Wight and some areas of Scotland apply.

Bareroot planting is best done between November and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

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