A tree was planted in 1997 at a church I was a member of at the time, in memory of my 17 yr old son who died in a car wreck. In the past few years I have been going to see the tree at different times of the year. The ladies who planted it can't remember what kind of tree it is. They say maybe either crabapple or ornamental pear tree. Right now it just looks like a great big bunch of very Tall sticks. Last summer it had a little green to it but not much. Very unattractive and I don't know if that's because it hasn't been taken care of for so many years or what. I've tried asking other people and to look it up on the internet with no luck. Could you please tell me what kind of tree it actually is, and how it needs to be taken care of? I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.
Type of Tree
It looks like a crabapple although ID without leaves isn't perfect. It hasn't been pruned correctly, something needed every 1-2 years to keep it in fine form. Pruning fruit trees isn't for your average gardener. Incorrect or too much pruning will lead to rapid growth of unsightly water sprouts. If this is a recent picture, it would be OK to prune at this time (late winter, very early spring). First remove dead, diseased, dying/damaged and branches that are rubbing/crossing. Then take out the newer growth at the trunk including the branch that wraps around the main trunk. Stop at this point. Too much done at one time triggers the type of growth, like watersprouts, that aren't good for the tree's form. Don't worry about the lichens on the back - the whitish patches. These don't damage the tree and are common on crabapples. I am terribly sorry for the loss of your son.