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ates Department of Agriculture
Program Aid Number 1338
'Midwesf Manchurian crabapple
'Midwest' Manchurian crabapple is an excellent tree for
windbreak, wildlife habitat, and recreational plantings. It is
suitable for single-row field windbreaks where a medium-
height tree is desired and width is not a factor. It is also
suitable for farmstead windbreaks when planted between
the central and outside rows of multiple-row plantings.
Wildlife, especially some songbirds and game bird species,
waxwings, and squirrels, consume the small fruit readily. In
addition, the tree provides good nesting and ground cover.
It provides browse for rabbit and deer. Since the fruit dries
('raisins') on the trees, a winter supply of food is available.
Midwest Manchurian crabapple, Malus baccata (L.) Borkh.
var. mandshurica (Maxim.) Schneid, is a moderately rapid
growing medium-size tree. It is densely branched and oval
shaped. This tree is extremely winter hardy and disease
resistant, making it well suited to the harsh climatic
extremes of the upper Midwest and Great Plains.
Midwest may reach a height of 20 feet in 16 years. The
dense and rounded growth form is very desirable. When
'Midwest' crabapple provides good nesting, ground cover, and tood
planted in single-row windbreaks and given sufficient
growing room, it maintains its branches close to the ground.
It is one of the earliest species to leaf out in the spring and
is fully leafed before blooming. The blossoms are snowy
white. Fruit size ranges from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.
Young trees will grow rapidly at first, as much as 2 feet a
year, but the growth rate slows in 7 or 8 years. The leaves
are alternate, simple, ovate to oval, finely serrated to
irregularly toothed or lobed, and usually dark or olive green
above and paler green below. The bark is ridged to scaley
and dark gray or reddish gray.
Midwest has proved to be insect and disease resistant.
Occasionally, fire blight will affect a few leaves, but the
infection has never been severe. This tree cannot tolerate
chemical sprays, and heavy drift may cause stunting or
The Bismarck Plant Materials Center released Midwest in
April 1973 after evaluating it in field plantings beginning in
1954 when the Center received seed from the Canada
Department of Agriculture in Morden, Manitoba. The tree
performed well in these tests under accession number PM-
ND-282. The seed was originally collected from Echo,
Manchuria by A. F. Woeikoff in the early 1920's.
Midwest is easy to grow from seed and produces vigorous
seedlings. Field plantings are also easy to establish. Spacing
should be from 6 to 10 feet for windbreaks. Planting should
be done in the spring when moisture conditions are best.
Weeds should be controlled the first few years of
establishment, preferably by cultivation. Irrigation may be
needed to ensure early survival on drier sites. If animal
populations are high, the trees should be protected or the
deer and rabbits should be controlled until the trees are
large enough to withstand the browse.
The propagation of Midwest is from open-pollinated seed
because large quantities are needed for farm and ranch
plantings. Commercial production will be the same in most
cases. The seed is picked and cleaned in the fall and stored
until 30 days before planting. It is then mixed with damp,
fine sand and kept at temperatures of 34 to 36 °F. A close
watch must be maintained the last few days to determine
'Midwest' crabapple can be used in farmstead windbreal<s.
when it breaks dormancy. Seed is then planted about 1/2
inch deep in beds or rows and mulched lightly, and the
surface is kept moist until seed emerges. The planting stock
used should be two-year-old seedlings that are not in
containers. The plants should be 12- to 24-inches high
before they are transplanted.
Seed is available from the United States Department of
Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service (SCS), Plant Materials
Center, P.O. Box 1458, Bismarck, North Dakota, 58502.
Breeder seed and foundation stock of Midwest Manchurian
crabapple are maintained there. Certified seed (selected
class) is available from growers approved by the State
Certified Seed Departments. Standards for all classes of seed
are published in the North Dakota Tree and Shrub
For more information on where you can buy Midwest
Manchurian crabapple and how to use and plant it, contact
your local SCS office listed in your telephone directory
under United States Government, Department of
Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.
Midwest has a wide range of adaptability from Wisconsin to
Montana and south to Kansas and Indiana (see the
adaptation map); it has not been adequately tested beyond
this area. Survival is good on well-drained soils. The tree is
drought tolerant, but better adapted to deep, well-drained,
loam soils that have good to excellent weed control. It is
very winter hardy, often surviving -40°F temperatures
with no dieback.
All programs and services of the U.S Department of
Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, are offered on a
nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color,
national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or
Reviewed and Approved for Reprinting April 1989