Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii)
Sargent Crabapple is a dwarf version of the crabapple family, forming a dense, wide-spreading, irregularly-rounded silhouette. It can be purchased as a single or multi-trunked tree. The small, fragrant, springtime blossoms start out as red or pink buds but open to sparkling white flowers. Fruits that result from the perfect flowers are bronzed-green in summer and bright red at autumn maturity, but change to dark red as they hang on to the tree throughout much of the winter, serving as a food source to wildlife. As with many species, where an individual tree bears fruit heavily in one year, the following year is often scarce in fruit. This is termed an alternate-year cycle of fruit production, even though some fruits are borne in the "off-year" cycle.
It looks great growing out of a low groundcover, located in a bed with low-growing shrubs, or placed toward the rear of a shrub border. A row would make a nice screen during the summer months. Unlike many other Crabapples, Sargent Crabapple is only slightly susceptible to scab, fireblight, and leaf spot. This makes it one of the best for the South.