Chestnut crabapple

We have started harvesting Chestnut crabapple from our young 5th leaf tree on antonovka roots. Last time I had these to eat was at Fedcotrees booth at the Commonground Fair- they amazed me then with the rich, sweet and nutty flavor, and now picking them for the first time from my own tree, they are living up to that memory. I am quite pleased with the productivity and precosity of my unsprayed tree. Very full bloom in the spring, many fruitlets were thinned by plum curculio, but yet the tree has a nice load on it ripening now.
Truly excellent out of hand eating- lunch box sized fruit a bit larger than other culinary crabs. Lovely russet orange splashed over gold skins. Tree is vigorous with a spreading, slightly drooping habit. Another keeper variety that I may top work other trees in my orchard over to.
Looking forward to juicing some fruit and testing sugar, acidity levels for future cider endeavors, I think this one will do some good things in a barrel…


Picking pole is 7’ tall.


I have two 1st leaf Chestnut crabs on B118 rootstock. Hopefully they will turn out as nice as yours. Thanks for sharing.

Truly an excellent apple, crab or otherwise.

great looking tree…what a harvest…

makes me think I need to add a crab apple tree to the mix…

I love chestnut crabs; your tree looks great.

Thanks, here’s the rest.

Saved out the best of the lot for storage/eating, made a batch of fruit leather, and then pressed the rest into a mixed batch of cider. What a delicious apple, I might have to spray Surround on it as the curcs like it as well…


I am hoping to add a Chestnut Crab to the mix at our place, but I’m having trouble finding a source. A limiting factor for me is size-- we are mostly growing dwarf size trees. In my searches I’ve not found any mention of Chestnut Crab available or grown on a dwarf rootstock.

So, my question-- is there something about crabapples, or this variety in particular, that they are unable to be grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks?

Thanks in advance for any help provided!

There is no reason Chestnut couldn’t be grafted onto rootstock of your choice. Since it is a relatively little known northern variety, choices are limited, I have seen it listed at Fedco and St Lawrence nursery, and both places offer apples mostly on antonovka. Cummins might have it, and their offerings are usually on a wider variety of roots. You could make your own if you know how to graft (it’s easy) or have someone custom graft it for you. I should have some scionwood available this winter…

Cummings has chestnut on b118

Thanks, Chikn, but from what I can see B118 produces a tree 85-95% of standard, which I’m gathering for this variety would result in a 16-20 foot tree. I’m hoping for true dwarfing rootstock, with full size being 8-10 feet or so.

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Thanks for the help, JesseS. I may take you up on the scionwood offer. Let me do a little more sleuthing and I’ll get back with you.

I am somewhat normal to this whole thing. What does “first leaf” vs “second leaf” denote?

Welcome to the forum, busch.

When I read “first leaf”, “second leaf”, etc., I interpret it to mean the (fill in the blank) year that the tree has leafed out for the owner.

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Ok that was my assumption too. Nice to know we are on the same page.

I will be trying my luck with a whip from Stark’s. Don’t know if this suits your purpose.

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I haven’t tasted tons of varieties, but Chestnuts are a spectacular dessert apple in my book, very sweet, good tartness, really aromatic and the perfect size (but good enough I can hardly eat just one). I cannot wait until my tree starts producing.

JesseS, would you mind sharing in what state you’ve grown Chestnut Crab successfully without spraying? – or what diseases are prevalent in your area? This apple is on my list of “possible future apples” but, while I plan to do a combo of keep trees small/spray minimally/bag apples, it might be hard if I can’t get it on a smaller rootstock… I am in VA.

I’m getting a Dolgo crabapple this year, on a M-111 but I read it is not a super vigorous tree so hoping I can keep it at 12’ or less and it be happy. . .would love to get some fruit for jelly but getting it mainly as a pollinator. Maybe if it does well I could graft Chestnut into it someday.

I am in Maine, the major apple pests/ diseases are plum curculio, coddling moth, apple maggot fly, scab. Being a northern bred apple, I’m not sure how Chestnut would do your way, how about Hewe’s Virginia Crab?

Another season, and a very nice bloom on my Chestnut Crab, first of my 6th leaf trees to flower so profusely.

I sent out a lot of scions from this tree, hope they take, bloom and fruit for all who recieved!

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