Crabapple trees can add exceptional beauty to your backyard. In the spring, their white or pink flowers add a splash of color amidst the greenery. Then in the fall, red crabapples add an autumn hue. If you want these trees to stay beautiful, however, you will have to take care of them — and that means trimming them regularly. Here are a few tips to help you trim your crabapple trees properly.

1. Trim before you see buds.

You will often hear that you need to trim crabapple trees in the winter or early spring. This seems a little vague, so luckily, there is an easier way to determine the right time to trim a crabapple tree. You need to trim the tree before buds appear. This way, the tree has not wasted resources to develop buds that you just trimmed away. You can't really trim too early, as long as the tree is dormant when you trim it; fall is too early. But you can trim too late. If you do wait and trim a tree later, after buds appear, your tree won't have as many flowers and crabapples that year.

2. Be very careful about sanitization.

Crabapple trees are typically quite prone to a number of fungal diseases, including apple scab and anthracnose. These diseases can easily be spread from tree to tree, and some of them infect other species of trees, not just crabapples. To avoid giving your tree an illness as you trim it, make sure you fully sanitize your shears before every use. You can just add a little bleach to a bucket of water, dip the shears into that solution, and then let the shears air dry. If you have more than one crabapple tree, do this after each tree just in case one of your trees is infected.

3. Remove water sprouts.

Crabapple trees often develop small shoots that emerge from the main branches. These shoots are called water sprouts, and they look smoother than the other branches. They won't develop fruit, and they can be a waste of resources for the tree. So the best option is to just trim them away. Clip them right where they emerge from the main branch. This will lead to a more vibrant crabapple with more flowers and fruits. 

If you follow the tips above, you should do a great job of trimming your crabapple. Contact a professional tree trimming company if you need assistance.