Summer 2024Pre-orders are now open. Deliveries will begin again in September for pot grown trees and December for bare-rooted or mixed tree orders.
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Roberts Red crab apple trees

Malus domestica
Roberts Red is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Blossom colour: Pink - dark
  • Fruit colour: Purple
Roberts Red or Roberts Crab is an unusual red-fleshed crab-apple, with dark pink blossom, and purple fruits. Useful for cooking and produces a claret red colour juice.

Roberts Red crab apple trees for sale

Pot-grown

All pot-grown trees are suitable for planting out in the garden, some are suitable for growing in containers.

  • PG12-year 12L pot-grown tree Semi-vigorous rootstock £60.50
    Large tree (3m-5m after 10 years)

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree Semi-vigorous rootstock £36.75
    Large tree (3m-5m after 10 years)
Pre-ordering

You can pre-order now, deliveries start in September.

Delivery charges

Delivery for a single tree starts at £9.95. It is calculated when you add trees to your basket, based on your postcode.

Fruit tree delivery to EuropeEU delivery
This variety is also available for delivery to Europe. Contact us for details.

Roberts Crab is an unusual crab-apple, grown both for its attractive ornamental qualities, and for culinary uses.

The abundant spring blossom is dark pink, and the leaves have a bronze tint.

Ripening in late summer, the crab-apples have an unusual dark purple colour. They are also very large - the size of small apples.

The main attraction in the kitchen is that the purple fruits have a rich red flesh, making Roberts Crab an excellent variety for crab-apple jams and jellies.

The red flesh also contains anthocynanin compounds, which may have anti-oxidant qualities. A 2009 study by researchers at USDA found Roberts Crab to have particularly high levels of Cyanidin-3-0-galactoside.

The juice is a dark red claret colour, which is darker than that of other red-fleshed crab-apples. The juice flavour is sharp and crab-like, and can be used in cider blends.

How to grow

This variety is not likely to be as good for pollinating mainstream apple varieties as white-blossomed crab-apple varieties.

Roberts Crab is very precocious, and is likely to blossom and fruit the first season after planting. It grows with an attractive upright spreading form and is reasonably vigorous.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

Roberts Crab is also known as Roberts Red. Although now grown primarily as a crab-apple, it seems to have been originally raised as a cider apple.

This variety is also sometimes marketed as Dr Campbell, in honour of Dr Ian Campbell, a scientist at the famous Long Ashton Research Station near Bristol, who was involved in important developments in virus-free rootstocks for apple trees and crab-apples.

Roberts Red characteristics

Growing

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilitySelf-fertile
  • Flowering group2
  • Pollinating othersPoor
  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesMild damp climates

Using

  • Picking seasonMid
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Keeping (of fruit)2-3 weeks
  • Food usesCulinaryJuiceHard cider

Identification

  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1950 - 1999
  • Flowering monthApril
  • Blossom colourPink - dark
  • Fruit colourPurple
  • Flesh colourPink / Red