How to Grow Sugar Tyme Crabapple Trees

Often referred to as a crabapple for all seasons, the Sugar Tyme crabapple tree is a beautiful yet compact tree with an oval canopy that makes a striking addition to your garden or landscaping.

A member of the Malus genus, these trees bear fruit in the form of small, bright red apples, about ½-inch in diameter. The fruit appears in the fall and provides ornamental interest on the tree through the winter.

However, the beauty of the Sugar Tyme crabapple isn’t just in its fruit. Each spring, these trees produce an abundance of beautiful pink buds that open to reveal white blossoms.

A crabapple tree in bloom is a sight to behold—although you better make the most of the display since it tends to be very short-lived. A single-flowering crabapple, like the Sugar Tyme variety, will only have flowers for up to a week or maybe two.

However, the full, green foliage of the tree still adds to its visual interest for the remainder of the spring and summer. In the fall, the leaves turn a golden yellow that strike a natural contrast with the red apples hanging on the tree. 

Botanical Name Malus 'Sutyzam' 
Common Name Sugar Tyme Crabapple
Plant Type Tree
Mature Size 14 to 18 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-draining
Soil pH Slightly acidic
Bloom Time Early spring
Flower Color White or pink
Hardiness Zones 4 to 8
Native Area North America, Europe, Asia

How to Grow Sugar Tyme Crabapple

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree has a reputation for being very easy to grow. These trees don’t demand much in the way of regular care and attention, but will reward you with beautiful foliage and abundant fruit despite your lack of hands-on care.

Monitor these trees for sufficient moisture levels throughout the first year after planting.

Pruning is done in winter or spring to remove excess growth or damaged limbs, but should be done sparingly. At the same time, you don’t generally need to worry about this plant overgrowing, since it reaches a mature height of only about 18 feet and has a lovely, upward growth pattern.

The Sugar Tyme crabapple is resistant to other pesky problems that afflict crabapple trees, like powdery mildew, rust, fireblight, and scab.

This variety is considered very healthy, and with basic care and precautions offers excellent disease-resistance.

Light

Like other varieties of crabapple trees, the Sugar Tyme tree will have maximum foliage and fruit production if it is planted in full sun. While eight or more hours of sunlight are preferable, the tree can survive in partial shade—but be prepared for less abundant blossoms and more sparse crabapples.

Soil

The main soil requirement for a sugar tyme crabapple is that it be well-draining. Rich, loamy soil is the best choice for these trees, but they have proven to be adaptable to other sites where the soil provides adequate drainage.

Soil that retains too much moisture can cause root rot and have an adverse effect on the tree’s health.

Ideally, the sugar tyme tree should be planted in slightly acidic soil. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 is best for this tree to thrive.

Water

A mature crabapple tree has only moderate water needs and exhibits a measure of drought resistance. However, these trees should be watered every two weeks or so for the first year after planting, and during periods of little or no rainfall.

Doing so minimizes the stress on the tree, and also prevents an established tree from using its reserve energy supplies for survival—which may limit the following year’s flowers and fruit production.

Temperature and Humidity

This variety of crabapple tree is considered to be highly adaptable, and this is true when it comes to climate. Hardy to USDA zone 4, these trees weather winter well but also thrive during warm summer spells, thanks to their drought tolerance.

In fact, crabapple trees benefit from the temperature swings common to temperate areas of the United States. Cold winter weather followed by a seasonal uptick in temperature allows this tree to flower and fruit abundantly.

Fertilizer

Many times, Sugar Tyme crabapple trees are abundant producers of both blooms and fruit without any additional fertilization in average soil conditions. Minimal work needs to go in supplementing the soil, though an organic fertilizer may provide a welcome boost.

However, if you have subpar soil conditions—and notice that your tree is growing slowly or underproducing fruit—then fertilizer may be in order.

A balanced fertilizer formula, like 10-10-10, is generally recommended. Spread the fertilizer in a radius around the tree extending about 20 feet to ensure the roots will soak up the nutrients.

Toxicity of Sugar Tyme Crabapple

The leaves, stems, and seeds of members of the Malus genus do contain trace amounts of cyanide. If consumed in sufficient quantity, this can result in a toxic dose. However, the fruit of the Sugar Tyme crabapple tree is not in itself toxic. It may, however, be sour—and if eaten in great quantity, can result in stomach upset.

Pruning

The Sugar Tyme crabapple tree generally requires very little pruning to maintain its shape and appearance. This tree has an upward growth pattern with an oval-shaped crown.

Typical pruning tasks will include removing damaged or diseased branches and suckers.

There are two times of the year often recommended for pruning crabapple trees: immediately after the tree has blossomed, but before it bears fruit, or in mid-to-late winter. Pruning the tree too close to blossom production or to the fruit-bearing season can have an adverse effect.