As the name suggests Guardsman is a distinctly upright crab-apple. The best effect is achieved with several planted in a row, or with a single tree planted as a focal point in the garden.
This species of crab-apple flowers very late, usually late May or June in the UK. The flowers are white and relatively large, mildly scented, and the petals have a slightly feathered appearance.
With most crab-apples the autumn interest is the brightly coloured fruitlets, but with Malus trilobata it is the maple-like lobed leaves, which take on autumnal red and orange tints.
The fruitlets are very small and green, and can be used for culinary purposes, but this is a tree which would be grown primarily for its ornamental value.