The Arboretum's largest collection consists of 16 species and 120 cultivars and a total of 268 specimens of crabapples (Malus sp.). All apples are in the rose family along with peaches, pears, cherries, apricots, and around 100 other genera. There are some 3000 species and cultivars including roses! The rose family is susceptible to many diseases and insects. This generally means heavy spraying, shabby looking trees or hunting for cultivars which are least susceptible to major diseases.
The spectacular bloom, generally sometime around Mother's Day brings thousands of visitors to see the pinks, whites and reds of the many trees. It is best to jot down the names of those you like, then return in mid-summer to see if their leaves are still intact and not disease or pest prone. Because most of the crabapples have decorative fruit (there are some fruitless varieties) you should return in the fall to check fruit color, size and density. Finally, a visit in winter will give you a seasonal view which you will see five months of the year.
Crabapples come in all shapes and sizes, including spreading, weeping, dwarf, vase-shaped and columnar.