Kerr Crab Apple Trees

  • High sugar
  • Well suited for organic growing
  • Hardy to zone 3

Kerr Crab apples are extremely juicy, and have a good rich sweet-tart balance, which makes an excellent base for cider blending.

The flesh is yellow and tinged with red, very firm, very crisp, very juicy, somewhat tart but very sweet. It is very good for fresh eating (better with storage), excellent for cooking and canning, and superb for juicing. It has excellent storage capability for up to 27 weeks.

Kerr is a cross between a crab-apple, Malus Dolgo, and Haralson. It can be considered a large-fruited Malus Dolgo in most respects. It was developed at the Morden Research Station of Agriculture Canada in Manitoba, and introduced in the 1950s.

The attractive crimson-pink fruits are small by apple standards, but relatively large for a crab-apple. The skin is creamy yellow, completely covered with crimson and later maroon, and covered with a medium bluish bloom. The fruit is medium size, 4.5 cm (1 3/4″) in diameter, oblong oblate, log stemmed, with shallow stem cavity and basin, and matures in late September to early October.

The tree is moderately vigorous, broadly upright, round-headed, annually productive, with strong wide-angled branches. It is hardy to Zone 3, and moderately resistant to fire blight.

John Horrigan, Oaklake Orchard in Minnesota: ‘The taste is really intense—kind of knocks your socks off if you pick it on the young side. It mellows somewhat it you give it a couple extra days. It smacks somewhat of a Haralson, but it is extremely juicy. I juice them; it makes the most wonderful apple juice you have ever tasted. I dry them and it tastes like candy, and apple crisp [with Kerr apples] is an absolutely wonderful thing.’

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Height of tree when mature:

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