Early blooming fruit trees are a welcome sight not only for those weary of winter’s dull hues but also as food for pollinators such as bees that may be stressed after enduring short cold days with limited food sources. Crabapple trees are among the first deciduous trees to bloom in early spring, displaying bright red buds that break out in fragrant pink flowers that fade to white and can be used in cut flower arrangements. While primarily used as an ornamental, the fruit of the Crabapple can be dried and used in teas. The fruit can also be a food source for wildlife. Moderately growing to mature size from 12 to 25 feet tall and about as wide, Crabapple can be espaliered, maintained in smaller yards with proper seasonal pruning, or left to branch out as a specimen tree in larger spaces. Plant in full sun with average soil and reap the benefits of this early-blooming, beautiful tree. For more information on this and other plants, please visit Water Wise Gardening in Santa Cruz County.