NOTE – these are ungrafted seedling plants 1-3 ft tall, and will have variable fruit. The following description is general.
Dolgo Crabapple. malus domestica. Diploid. Open-pollinated Siberian crab. A Russian crab imported by Professor Hansen to South Dakota and released for distribution around 1897. Named for the Russian word for “long”, describing its shape, being notably taller than wide. (globose-conical)
Flesh oxidizes readily. Brix 18 (percentage sugar) at maturity. Medium in texture and moderately juicy. Flavor is rich, but tart. Despite acid, it is agreeable enough for fresh eating to most palates. Weigh in at 50 grams per fruit, and are an average of 28mm in width and 3.5cm tall. Color is normally 100 percent red, ranging from crimson to deep purple depending on strain. There is a slight bloom.
Although prized by many for fresh eating, it is more often used for jellies and sauces. Jellies will be deep red due to the bleeding skin. Also a great amendment to ciders both sweet and hard. Fruit may be canned whole. High pectin content.
The tree is vigorous. Its general form is upright spreading , becoming 30 feet wide and 40 foot tall as seedling or on vigorous stock. Fruit hangs well on tree past maturity. Ripens generally in late summer, being one of the earlier ripening crabapples. Keeps only fair. Requires at least 300 hours of chilling. It is resistant to many diseases including scab, mildew, cedar apple rust, and reportedly to fireblight. Also resists sunscald. Foliage in seedling progeny may be either a rich green or decidedly purple. In our seedlings we have found a nearly even 50% red to green, but there is often a purplish character to even the green foliage in the early season. It is a handsome tree and a strong grower.
Blossom buds pink opening to a pink tinged white, and considered early flowering. Bloom show is overall white, and with a profusion of flowers. Blooming period is an average of 13.5 days (OSU study, Ohio 1995/6). Crops are usually heavy, the abundance of small fruit make this tree ornamental for the full of the season. Dense foliage. Annual cropping.
An interesting aside is that the Dolgo seems to be the favorite tree of the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (a woodpecker species that feasts on tree sap it creates through pecking). In fact I have used the presence of its damage as a tool for Dolgo identification. The lower trunk is often so riddled as to appear natural. In my experience the tree handles the affront quite well, having seen 100+ year old specimens covered with the evidence and carrying on seemingly unaffected.