Ralph Shay Crabapple – Malus 'Ralph Shay'

Ralph Shay Crabapple – Malus ‘Ralph Shay'
Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees

Ralph Shay crab boasts bold, profuse pink buds to white flowers and scarlet winter fruit

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Ralph Shay Crabapple blossoms

Ralph Shay crab thrives in full sun and grows best in well drained, slightly acidic soils (pH 5.5-6.5); however, they will grow well in many soil types. Grows to 20 feet with equal spread. Red buds open to red flowers, with orange, winter-persistent fruit that birds love. With more and more songbirds confused in their migratory rhythms due to our continued string of mild winters, readily available food becomes more important.

The Morton Arboretum classifies Ralph Shay crab as  fairly resistance to scab, fire blight, and rust; excellent resistance to powdery mildew [1]. 

Apple scab is one of the most serious diseases from an aesthetic standpoint, but usually not a serious threat to the health of the tree. It is a fungal disease, which develops in cool, wet springs. On susceptible crabapples, apple scab causes spotting of the leaves, premature defoliation, and unsightly spots on the fruit. Cedar- apple rust is a less serious leaf-spotting disease common to our native crabapple cultivars. It is usually a problem in areas where native junipers (Juniperus) are planted. Selecting resistant cultivars can control this disease.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause considerable damage to leaves and fruit of susceptible cultivars without threatening the health of the tree. Poor air circulation, close association with susceptible apple cultivars, and wet, humid weather conditions will greatly influence disease incidence and severity. [3]

Fire blight, caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, is a common and frequently destructive bacterial disease of pome fruit trees and other related plants. Pear and quince trees are extremely susceptible. Apple, crabapple, and Pyracantha species are also frequently damaged. Fire blight most commonly attacks blossoms, but it can also infect succulent tissues of shoots and water sprouts (root suckers). Infections may extend into scaffold limbs, trunks, or root systems, and may kill highly susceptible hosts. Less susceptible varieties may be severely disfigured.

Fire blight occasionally attacks hawthorn (Crataegus species), Spiraea, Cotoneaster, toyon (Photinia species), juneberry or serviceberry (Amelanchier species), loquat, mountain ash (Sorbus species), and other related plants. Fire blight infections can destroy limbs and even entire shrubs or trees. [4]

Ralph Shay Crabapple is 23 years old [2]

  1. Morton Arboretum, Crabapples for the Home Landscape
  2. Ralph Shay crabapple, Morton acc. 165-76-1 photos by Bruce Marlin
  3. B. L. Teviotdale,  UC ANR Publication 7414, Pest Notes "Fire Blight"
  4. Morton Arboretum, Apple Scab
  5. Cornell University, "Cedar-apple Rust"
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.

Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing Hawthorns, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Peach, Almond, Mountain-Ash and Whitebeam. Rosaceae is a large family of plants with about 3,000 species in ~100 genera. Crabapple and other fruit trees provide some of our most outstanding flowering ornamentals, as well as food for birds and other wildlife.
Tree Encyclopedia | Tree Index | Fruit Tree Index