Just make sure the bloom dates of the trees overlap to facilitate pollination and the crabapple’s flower color is similar to that of adjacent apples. Some fruits fall to the ground and barely stop rolling before being sucked up by a deer, but others remain uneaten until other deer foods are depleted. Deer might select the most nutritious fruits, or maybe it’s just a matter of taste.Researchers have shown that honey bees selectively feed on apple flowers of the most predominant color in an orchard (whether white, pink or red), skipping trees having flowers of a different color. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both nutrition and taste.The chilling requirement for a particular variety is important, but this information is largely missing for crabapples.
Small and colorful fruits that persisted on the tree until dried were preferred over large fruits that dropped.When selecting crabapples for deer, it might be a good idea to include both sweet (eaten early) and bitter (eaten late) varieties.Some crabapples are great selections for your deer orchards; others are a waste of money, space and time.The only way to pick the winners for your location is to approach the decision-making process systematically.
In addition to fruit taste, also consider characteristics such as relative fruit size, when and if a tree drops its fruit, growing requirements, disease resistance and annual production patterns to make sure a particular variety matches your needs.
Human taste perception and what deer taste may be different.