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Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info) Genus: Malus (MAY-lus) (Info) Cultivar: Prairie Fire Additional cultivar information: (aka Prairiefire) Hybridized by D. Dayton; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1982
Hardiness: USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F) USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F) USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
I have had this crabapple for close to ten years. It's done quite well with very little care or supplemental water in a fairly dry soil in full sun.
The tree is stunning in the spring, when it's a solid cloud of fuschia. (Unfortunately, I'm less fond of the color than I used to be.) I actually prefer the blue-green foliage with red veining to the flowers.
My favorite part of this tree is the tiny crabapples. They're abundant, and look like little dangly ear rings on the tree. The crabapples are small enough that they disappear when they're on the ground, and don't make a mess.
The birds don't touch them much until the weather turns frigid. Then the crabapples are gone in a day!
The main negative is that the tree suckers like crazy, even though I planted it at the correct depth. Also, the tree has a very drooping habit, which is not particularly attractive to me.
On May 13, 2013, heckabore from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:
I had three of these trees in my garden and had to remove one because it was so badly harmed by scale insects. A second tree gets scale every year no matter what I do, but it is still vigorous and large enough that it does OK. The third tree does not give me any problems. These are such beautiful trees, though, even out of bloom, that I cannot rate it a Negative. The dark reddish brown bark and deep green leaves are a wonderful contrast with the fuschia flowers and the deep, deep, deep, red crabapples. It's just a much fussier plant than anything else in my garden. Oh, and the deer like it, too.
On May 13, 2013, Plantnutoo from Manteo, NC wrote:
Ihave had Prairie Fire for fifteen years on Roanoke Island North Carolina .I t has done well every year Seedlings of couse are not Prairie Fire .They have the same leaf color .I have not tried growing any to see how they behave. I have no other crabapple,so they should be selfs.
If anyone has other crabs that are as tough ,you could possibly have good seedlings
On May 13, 2013, GrinnellinVT from Middlebury, VT wrote:
When we lived in central Wisconsin (54971), we had a garden bed adjacent to our house that apparently hosted verticilium wilt. After a Nanking cherry tree and a redbud tree both died there, we planted the Prairie Fire crabapple. It has been thriving for 10+ years.
On May 13, 2013, MDcedarleaf from Washington Grove, MD wrote:
Prairiefire is one of my all-time favorite trees. I first planted it in a city-sized front yard in Boston, where I knew it will just squeak under power lines at maturity, but it is an elegant and rewarding planting at any age. Purple-tinged, beautifully lenticilled bark, dark red fruit, a lovely habit, fast growing and not overly prone to breakage...not to mention the gorgeous cloud of blooms in Spring. It seems to bear more heavily every other year. Wonderful tree - choose it over the weaker pears and more common (though admittedly gorgeous) cherries; you won't regret it.
On Jan 21, 2013, zepher13 from Thornton, CO wrote:
I have 3 of these planted on the west side of my property on the northeastern plains/edge of foothills of Rocky Mountains in Colorado. They have survived and thrived very well and have beautifully made interest and food for birds, bees, and butterflies
On Jan 21, 2013, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Having worked for several years in a nursery that sells this variety, and having watched other varieties succumb to every nasty disease that crab apple trees are heir to, I can assure you that, in OKC, this is the most disease resistant variety I have ever seen. The all season interest makes it just about perfect.
Beautiful tree for the Pacific Northwest and very resistant to disease. The mild wet winters and spring here encourage black spot and other related problems for many varieties, but this one comes through like a champ!
On Sep 21, 2010, jhuot from South Windsor, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:
I first saw this tree in a gardening magazine that was featuring some of the finer crabapples available. I was fortunate to find one at a local nursery near the end of that summer a few years ago. The tree looked tired from sitting in a pot all season, but was on sale, so I took a chance.
And boy was it worth it. The tree is stunningly beautiful when in flower and very attractive in all 4 seasons. The small cranberry colored crabapples stay on the tree well into the winter and provide food for the birds.
In my Connecticut yard, the tree has been pest free and maintenance free.
On Aug 10, 2008, ospreyhome from Chiloquin, OR wrote:
I live in zone 4/5 and am finding this is a somewhat slower grower than some other trees, however, it is thriving considering our short growing season. I believe it is considered a wonderful tree not only because it has four seasons of interest but has very good to excellent disease resistance to all major apple diseases. There are other beautiful crabapples but they have poor disease resistance.
On Jul 13, 2007, Meig from Far Northwest 'burbs, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
I don't see why this cultivar is supposed to be so fantastic. It is pretty in the spring but I think "Profusion" is much more beautiful.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Walnut Creek, California South Windsor, Connecticut Rathdrum, Idaho Bradley, Illinois Spring Grove, Illinois Coalville, Iowa Dawson, Iowa Urbandale, Iowa Andover, Kansas Clermont, Kentucky Georgetown, Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky Alfred, Maine Gobles, Michigan Mattawan, Michigan Stephenson, Michigan Tecumseh, Michigan Traverse City, Michigan Whitmore Lake, Michigan Kearney, Nebraska Clyde, North Carolina Bucyrus, Ohio Enid, Oklahoma Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports) Albany, Oregon Chiloquin, Oregon Elwood, Utah Virginia Beach, Virginia Ames Lake, Washington