Centurion Crabapple Tree

Malus hybrid 'Centzam'

Centurion Crabapple Tree

Malus hybrid 'Centzam'


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Centurion Crab Apple Tree is a beautiful flowering tree that is garlanded with large trusses of rosy-red flowers in May. In fall it is decorated with hanging clusters of small red crab apples, which persist into winter. They can be harvested and turned into delicious crab apple jelly. In spring the leaves are tinted red, and in fall they turn orange and bright red, making this tree beautiful and interesting all year round. It grows into an upright, vase-shaped tree with strong branches that rarely break in snow, reaching a height of 20 to 25 feet, and spreading no more than 20 feet wide. It makes a beautiful lawn specimen, an avenue of color, or a backdrop to your garden, and its size is ideal for smaller gardens. It is completely hardy to at least zone 4, and it is a reliable replacement for Japanese flowering cherries, which it rivals for beauty.

  • Rose red flowers smother the tree in May
  • Cherry-like red crab apples are colorful into winter
  • Very hardy, flowering well even in zone 4
  • Ideal replacement in cold regions for flowering cherries
  • Easily grown in all garden conditions

Plant the Centurion Crab Apple Tree in a sunny or lightly-shaded area, allowing room for it to spread to its mature width. It will grow in most soils that are not too wet, and this tough and hardy tree rarely needs any special attention. Rake up and destroy the leaves in fall to limit the spread of diseases. Once established it is moderately drought tolerant, and this easy-care tree will soon become a beloved feature in any garden. Plant it to mark a special occasion, or just plant it to enjoy the combination of beautiful flowers and attractive fruit. If you don’t turn the crab apples into jelly, the birds will love them as winter food.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 15-20
Mature Height 20-25
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-8

In colder parts of the country flowering trees in spring are scarce, and often unreliable. Once the flower buds begin to swell they are sensitive to cold, and they will quickly die if the weather turns cold again. Many simply cannot take very cold winter temperatures at all. But there is one group of spring-flowering trees that is reliable, with spectacular flowers, even in zone 4 and colder. These are the flowering crab apples. There blossoms rival the Japanese Flowering Cherries, which usually need warmer zones to thrive. There are many flowering crabapples, but one of the very best is the Centurion Crab Apple, which has a whole succession of features that bring interest season after season.

Spring brings the glory of its rose red flowers, clustered on the bare stems. As these fade, they are replaced by red-tinted leaves, which later turn deep green, before ending the year in a fall display of orange and red tones. In late summer the clusters of hanging red fruits will be seen, becoming brighter in fall, and hanging on the trees after the leaves drop, to carry color through into the winter months.

Growing Centurion Crabapples

The Centurion Crab Apple is a small to medium-sized tree, reaching no more than 25 feet tall, and spreading in time to about 20 feet across. Its branches form an attractive crown, strongly branched and shaped like an inverted pyramid. The bark is mottled in shades of brown, seen most effectively in winter. If you live in colder areas crab apples as the ‘go to’ for flowering trees to bring spring alive. In warmer areas they are a wonderful compliment to other flowering trees like Japanese flowering cherry, which bloom usually a little earlier, so that crab apples continue the display into May.


In cold areas such as zone 4, it is especially important to choose hardy varieties, and the Centurion Crab Apple has very hardy winter buds, and it will still bloom reliably after severe winter cold. As well as blooms, there are other good reasons to grow the Centurion Crab Apple. Unlike many other flowering trees, crab apples give double interest, because the fruits are almost as beautiful as the flowers. The fruits vary in size and color, and the Centurion Crab Apple has beautiful rosy-red apples that are about the size of cherries, carried in hanging clusters all along the branches.

Uses in the Kitchen

These relatives of eating apples are too sour to eat raw, but they do make very tasty jellies, that are an amazing shade of pink, from the skin of the fruits. If you like preserving, and like to eat food from your garden, then crab apple jelly is your friend. As well, the profuse bloom of crab apples will pollinate almost any type of eating apple, so that you can grow one crab apple tree and pollinate a whole collection of eating apples, without having to worry about precise matching of varieties.

Planting and Initial Care

Plant the Centurion Crab Apple in a sunny or lightly-shade spot, as a specimen in a lawn, in a row along a driveway or property line, or as a backdrop behind flowering shrubs. You may want to keep it away from a driveway or patio, because of the falling fruit in fall and winter. It will grow well in almost any type of soil that is not wet, from sand to clay, and from acid to alkaline.

Although apple trees can be bothered by some pests and diseases, the Centurion Crab Apple is a tough, reliable plant that is not usually threatened by serious problems. A good way to reduce leaf diseases is to rake up and destroy the leaves in fall, as these can carry diseases from one season into the next one. Once established, plants are moderately drought tolerant, but watering during long periods of drought is recommended.

History and Origins of the Centurion® Crab Apple

Crab apples are a complex group of apples species, separate from the main species which gave us eating apples, which is Malus pumila, also called Malus domestica. These ancient trees grew wild across Europe, Central Asia, and into China, and gardeners have bred them for centuries, so that the exact parentage of modern varieties is hard to establish. Bob Simpson was a plant breeder who ran Simpson’s Nursery in Vincennes, Idaho. He was a keep breeder of crab apples, and he introduced the Centurion Crab Apple in 1978. He called it Centurion, because it stood strong and upright, but when it was introduced into nursery production by Lake Country Nursery in Perry, Ohio, they named it ‘Centzam’, although that name was never patented. The name Centurion became its registered trademark.

Our Centurion Crab Apple Trees are grown from selected stem pieces from correctly identified plants of this tree. These are attached to the roots of special apple plants bred precisely to grow into sturdy, vigorous plants – and that is what we have available. Top-quality crab apple varieties are always in high demand, so our stock will soon be gone. Order now to avoid disappointment.

Back to top

Centurion Crabapple Tree

Malus hybrid 'Centzam'