Royal raindrops crabapple tree

Royal Raindrops Crabapples – Learn About Growing A Royal Raindrops Tree

Royal Raindrops flowering crabapple is a newer crabapple variety with bold pinkish-red flowers in spring. The blooms are followed by tiny, reddish-purple fruit that provide food for birds well into winter. The dark green leaves turn a bright coppery red in autumn. Interested in growing a royal raindrops tree in your garden? Read on for more information.

Growing Royal Raindrops Crabapples

Crabapple ‘Royal Raindrops’ (Malus transitoria ‘JFS-KW5’ or Malus JFS-KW5 ‘Royal Raindrops’) is a newer crabapple variety valued for its tolerance to heat and drought and excellent disease resistance. Royal Raindrops flowering crabapple is suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Mature trees reach a height of up to 20 feet. (6 m.).

Plant this flowering crabapple tree anytime between the last frost in spring and about three weeks before the first hard frost in fall.

Crabapple ‘Royal Raindrops’ are adaptable to nearly any type of well-drained soil, but acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5 is preferable. Be sure the tree is sited where it receives full sunlight.

Royal Raindrops Crabapple Care

Water Royal Raindrops regularly during the first few years to establish a healthy root system; thereafter, an occasional deep watering is sufficient. Beware of watering excessively, which may cause root rot.

The tree may need additional water during hot, dry weather. Although crabapple trees are drought tolerant, lack of water will affect next year’s flowering and fruit.

Feed the tree with a balanced, general purpose fertilizer before new growth emerges in late winter or early spring, beginning the year following planting.

Spread a 2-inch (2.5 cm.) layer of mulch around the tree to keep the soil moist and reduce evaporation.

Keep lawn grass away from the base of the tree; the grass will compete with the tree for water and nutrients.

Prune Royal Raindrops flowering crabapple after flowering in spring if needed to remove dead or damaged wood or branches that rub or cross other branches. Remove root suckers at the base of the as soon as they appear.

Tree of the Month: ‘Royal Raindrops’ Crabapple Tree

The Royal Raindrops Crabapple a great flowering tree. In this month’s Tree of the Month blog, we will tell you why this tree makes a great addition to your landscape.

Botanical Name: Malus ‘JFS-KW5’

Characteristics: This is a small ornamental tree, growing up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The Royal Raindrops Crabapple tree grows in a rounded form and has an ideal growth pattern. The branches grow excurrent and upright, reducing the need for tree trimming. The dark red fruit attracts wildlife. In the spring, this tree will be covered in bright pinkish-red flowers. The foliage is uniquely shaped and purple, gradually darkening through the growing season. In the fall, the leaves turn a vibrant orangish-red.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 4-8

Requirements: The ‘Royal Raindrops’ Crabapple tree requires full sun and is heat and drought tolerant. This small, flowering tree stands well against winds because of its upright branching structure.

Pest Susceptibility: This tree makes our recommended list because it is more disease resistant than other varieties of Crabapples to Fireblight, Apple Scab, Cedar-Apple Rust, and Mildew. Possible pests include Aphids, Japanese Beetles, Borers and Scale.

We recommend this tree for your landscape because of its disease resistance, great branching structure, and aesthetic interest.

Cherokee Tree Care provides tree services to Springfield, MO and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today to learn more about this tree and our other recommended trees.

Colorado west from the Kansas border is a prairie mostly as nature intended it — vast swaths of grass, wildflowers and cactus punctuated by cottonwoods every now and again.

But then comes the Front Range, where the landscape begins to change — elms and maples, ash trees and honey locusts, lacy with blossoms in spring, heavy with apples in summer, and bright leaves in the fall.

It’s an artificial forest of species imported from elsewhere, a canopy created by humans who long for shade and will do most anything to get it.

“This is one of the most demanding areas to grow plants in North America,” said Jim Ord, a Louisville-based regional sales representative for J. Frank Schmidt and Sons, an Oregon plant wholesaler that supplies a lot of trees to Front Range nurseries. “Plant material here is constantly being tested.”

Coaxing trees to thrive in your Front Range front yard takes work and the patience to choose carefully and cultivate tenderly varieties that can tolerate the wild temperature swings and alkaline soil we’re stuck with.

A good place to begin is choosing trees that appreciate the area — trees that do not quit when a chinook wind roars at 90 mph, or when a 60-degree afternoon turns into a 15-degree blizzard that night.

Fortunately, generations of horticulturists have toiled to develop trees sturdy enough for the region’s rigors. Despite the catalog of tree-growing hazards, plenty of them not only survive Colorado, they prosper.

For many of these survivors, their DNA is just part of the reason for their longevity. It is at least informed by their location.

“I think a lot of it is selecting the right tree for the right spot,” said Ord. “Looking at where the tree is going to go. Are there overhead power lines, are there walls? Along with that, is it a wet spot, is it a dry spot, what is the soil type? All of those things factor into where to put what plant.”

As for the tree itself, Gary Epstein, president of Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery, says the best ones are trees that last.

“I look for trees where a large percentage of them survive over time,” said Epstein. “Those trees will have to be able to take 30-below. They must be able to deal with our ridiculous falls and springs, and also our alkaline soils and our hot summers.”

The best, he said, persevere through at least 25 years. Once they get to that age, in this climate, they have demonstrated their suitability to the Front Range.

Epstein champions a wealth of trees for the Front Range, from cherry trees to oaks to a tree he discovered, the Hot Wings Tatarian maple.

Ord’s list of Colorado-loving trees includes elms and a Kentucky coffee tree.

They both came up with lists of their favorite Front Range trees. We winnowed their lists down to a handful of top performers.

Douglas Brown: 303-954-1395 or [email protected]

Trees that made the cut

Flowers and fruit


Sour pie cherries perform well in Colorado, and the trees provide three thrills: beautiful blossoms in spring, tart fruit for pies and jam and a relatively small scale, allowing them to be tucked into a small yard. Pick a self-pollinating variety, like Montmorency, Mesabi and North Star. Or get two Balis, whose buds are reportedly cold-hardy to minus 43 degrees. Have a super small space? Try the Meteor, which is about half the size of the others in terms of height and spread.


Honey Crisp: Sweet and juicy fruit comes from a tree that tops out at about 12 feet. Growers brag that it’s hardy to minus 40 degrees. Needs a pollinator, so buy two if you don’t live in a neighborhood where there are other apple trees.

All for show

Royal Raindrops crab apple: This is an ideal flowering tree for the Front Range. Drought- and wind-resistant with dark red cut-leafed foliage. The tree has a strong upright form and bears nice ornamental fruit.

June Snow dogwood: A Front Range-friendly dogwood that comes highly rated by CSU and Plant Select guru Jim Klett. Flowers later in the season to avoid spring frosts. Look for orange-red or purple-red foliage in fall.

Seven Sons flower: This is a fall-blooming small tree or large shrub. Multiseason interest from shedding bark, fall blooms and the bright pink to red calyxes that follow. This was a Plant Select Tree of the Year in 2008.

Russian hawthorn: Small-scale ornamental that is drought-tolerant and does fine in compacted clay soil. Gives four-season interest, with white flowers in late spring, medium green foliage in summer, yellow leaves and clusters of dark-red berries in fall and golden yellow bark in winter.

Color and form

Hot Wings Tatarian maple: A local introduction developed by Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery. A very tough, alkaline-tolerant small tree or large shrub. Watch for six weeks each summer, when scarlet “helicopters” contrast with the green foliage. Fall color ranges from orange-red to yellow.

Crimson Spire oak: This columnar oak gets very high marks from the folks at CSU too. Nice for smaller yards or for use as a screening plant and tough enough to handle a wide range of planting conditions. Gives red fall color.


Accolade elm: A very nice large shade tree. This tough hybrid is resistant to Dutch elm disease. A very nice tree for big, open spaces. Rates very well for Front Range usage.

Chinkapin oak: A very nice tough oak that has a reputation of handling alkaline soil sites. Glossy green leaves with tight teeth provide shade in summer. Fall foliage ranges from orange-red to brown. Produces sweet acorns favored by some wildlife.

Kentucky coffee tree: An excellent alternative to ash trees that is tough and drought- tolerant. Provides dappled shade in summer and bright yellow fall color. Also produces dark-brown, crescent-shaped pods that provide winter interest.


Bristlecone pine: The is one of the best Colorado native conifers for drought and pest resistance. How tough is it? The oldest known specimen has reportedly thrived high on Mount Evans for nearly 2,500 years.

Limber pine: Another nice Colorado native ideal for a privacy border or specimen usage. Specimens of this tree are found in places as diverse as Pikes Peak and Pawnee Buttes. Some Colorado specimens are older than 1,000 years, including one in South Park reportedly more than 1,700 years old.

Sources: PlantSelect, CSU Cooperative Extension, J. Frank Schmidt and Sons, Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery, Denver Botanic Gardens

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