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Growing Apple Trees from Seed Naturally

 
Posts: 100
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hey doug
check out
zero fox trees
they are in bc
 
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james cox wrote:hey doug
check out
zero fox trees
they are in bc



Thanks for posting this, James. It's amazing how many nursuries are lurking on the web, but not easy to find. I've searched many times in order to accumulate a list of links, but never saw this one.
 
james cox
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Thanks for posting this, James. It's amazing how many nursuries are lurking on the web, but not easy to find. I've searched many times in order to accumulate a list of links, but never saw this one.



i posted this in another thread, may be something there too

https://permies.com/t/71390/buy-fruit-nut-trees-Canada

at the time i only had an inkling that they might be permies, turns out the owner actually spent a bit of time at wheaton labs.
 
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Theres alot to read here. I'm going to have to come back to it later. I think that the old advice that seedling apples are bad is partially nonsense. All naturally derived apples started out as a seedling apple before they were named. Not knowing exactly what you are going to get is exciting IMO and a fun game to play if you have the space. Will it be astringent and mealy or delicious and worthy of its own cultivar name? Who knows unless you try it?

I recently purchased some asian apples grown in China from a asian market. I noticed the seeds were sprouting inside the apples so I figured why not and potted them all. I plan on planting them in the orchard in this fall. The variety translates from Chinese to English as Honey Core Snow Apple.
 
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Another of our seedlings flowered and fruited last year. It's about 6 years old I think. I wasn't too impressed by the few apples- they were tiny and not much to taste. But maybe I'll try watering it this year. The flowers are so pretty too- giant, bushy petals and bigger than any of my regular apples.
20230505_114937_HDR.jpg
Seedling apple blossoms
Seedling apple blossoms
 
steward
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Awesome picture Jenny! Those flowers do look amazing!
 
Jenny Wright
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It's funny how fast time goes by.

When you hear, "Oh, growing an apple from seed can take about 7 years from seed to get fruit! That's too long and not worth it because you can't guarantee the fruit will be any good."

But it seems like we just planted that seed just the other day! I was surprised when I stopped to think about it and realized it had been six years! I had just had a baby and set two little pots with the apple sprouts on the edge of our driveway, intending to move them out to a nursery bed. But they were never moved and grew down through the plastic pot. One died but that one survived. I cut the pot off of it as much as I could a couple of years ago.

Every year since then I just randomly stick apple seedlings in places I know I won't accidentally mow them. A lot die but there's always one or two each year that survive. It's kind of like investing money. If I do it continually, the losses aren't a big deal because I have the successes that are maturing and remind me why it's so fun and rewarding to experiment with seeds.
 
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It is my understanding that Antonovka apple grows "true" from seed. It's long been used a rootstock for grafting
as it withstands -50 below winters. It also sets a tasty yellow apple. Other "true" (or true-ish) apples I have found are
"Dolgo" crabapple, Fameuse a.k.a. Snow apple, and "Nickajack" (from North Carolina)
 
Jenny Wright
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Kary Webb wrote:It is my understanding that Antonovka apple grows "true" from seed. It's long been used a rootstock for grafting
as it withstands -50 below winters. It also sets a tasty yellow apple. Other "true" (or true-ish) apples I have found are
"Dolgo" crabapple, Fameuse a.k.a. Snow apple, and "Nickajack" (from North Carolina)



I used Antonovka as rootstock for a few of my first grafting attempts last year. I figured that if I messed up the graft, I'd still get a yummy apple tree.
 
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Some of this year's apple seedlings, mostly from crosses done by Steven Edholm.  I left them in the fridge too long this spring, so they were overgrown before I got them planted, but I think they've straightened out now.  I'll repot the community pots in early spring, before they leaf out again, and expect to get some good whips then.  I may do some bud grafting to get earlier fruit evaluation if I get ambitious.

My own collected seed this year will get potted in the cold frame next month.
IMG_7486.jpeg
[Thumbnail for IMG_7486.jpeg]
 
pollinator
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My husband has grown some apple trees from seed. One is producing good sized apples that look good, are juicy and crisp, and have really underwhelming flavor (I'm hoping that improves with time, as some apples do). The second one seems to have gotten the worst of the drought this year and the apples are much smaller than last year's crop. The third is a very slender tree with little brown apples the size of gooseberries, which we haven't tasted. Those are the three that bear fruit so far. Some trees are "shy bearers" and take longer, so we'll keep watching the others.

The thing about growing apples from seed is that you have no idea what you're going to get. Apples have more genes than humans do, and any combination of the genes can show up in the fruit from a seedling/pippin. That's likely why so many people think apples from pippins are largely worthless, because of the unpredictability.

When you plant a seed from say a Gingergold apple, which is a cross between Golden Delicious and Newtown Pippin, the resulting seedlings aren't limited to just producing Gingergold, Golden Delicious, or Newtown Pippins, but literally any of the ancestors of those apples can show up, including whatever naturally grew on the rootstock of the ancestor trees. It's fascinating stuff!

You could plant 1,000 seedlings and end up with only one that produces good eating apples, but the wealth of variety and biodiversity in those 1000 trees would be amazing! Disease resistance, unique adaptation to climate, hardiness and long life, what kind of treasures are hidden in those seeds? Only one way to find out...plant those babies!
 
master gardener
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I went apple picking with my nieces and got a tote bag's worth of a mixture of apples.

We spent three hours today peeling, coring, and chopping apples to be frozen for future dishes. I have a crockpot of apple slices cooking down into applesauce that I'm hoping to have done here in the next few hours.

I took to peeling while my partner did the knife work and she was kind enough to save all the seeds she encountered.

It is my intent to find places to spread these seeds for the sake of spreading apple trees. It is my hope to add some diversity to the area through it!

Good, bad, or indifferent. I like playing the genetic lottery and see what might be on the other side.
AppleSeed.jpg
The results.
The results.
 
gardener
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Paul Wheaton is a great proponent of sowing apple seeds directly into the ground rather than planting saplings, for all the reasons mentioned here and more. They even have a half-assed holiday where they do just that. A bit of fun in the serious pursuit of infecting minds with permaculture!

 
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In 2023 the apple tree grew vigorously and produced lots of spurs on second year wood. Does it look like the tree is going to bloom for the first time the coming spring? If so I plan on buying another apple tree in bloom from the store for cross pollination.
thumb-20240115_161226.jpg
3 year old apple tree from seed
3 year old apple tree from seed
20240211_113209.jpg
Up to 17-18 spurs per foot length of 2nd year wood
Up to 17-18 spurs per foot length of 2nd year wood
 
Steve Thorn
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Those spurs look very promising! I'll bet you get some apples this year!
 
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This thread is one of my favourites at Permies.. I found Permies while searching for information about growing apple trees from seeds!

My project of apple trees from seeds is still in the starting line. I did plant a few seeds last fall but I don't have huge hopes for those.. More seeds this fall it is!
Hopefully 2025 is the year when I have a bunch of tiny, tiny seedlings growing on my property.

I just got an extra push on this topic, as Paul just published a new video about carbon footprint by the ton. Planting apple seeds can have a huge impact! Here's a link to the video if you are interested:

 
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I did this years ago with my Grandpa

Go to Cider Mill
Grab seeds preferably from variety you want
Sift top 25% of seeds toss the rest in the compost
You want the fattest healthiest seeds

Dig huge 100-500 yard trench... toss them all in... Then start saving the most vigorous..
Here we grafted on what we wanted.
But you could start seeing which produced what.

It's likely that 98% of population has never eaten an apple grown on it natural root stock.
What different minerals would a Natural root stock provide? Worst Case you graft a ton of apple trees.
 
G C Childers
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Scott Foster wrote:The problem with liberty is finding pollinators that are also resistant to rust. (Liberty is a triploid)



https://elizapples.com/tag/fruit-exploring/
Eliza Greenman of HogTree has a great list and the story of Triploid Apples

“The large majority of US cultivars known today as being able to tolerate fireblight, apple scab, powdery mildew, and loads of other issues while still persisting in the Southern landscape for decades upon decades are triploids! Including the Dula Beauty, my sturdy family apple cultivar.”

“Here is an incomplete list of confirmed triploid apples. Many of these are from the UK and do so-so in my climate. The ones with asterisks are what I have seen as old relic trees in the Mid-Atlantic:
Arkansas Black*
Ashmeads Kernel*
Baldwin*
Belle De Boskoop
Blenheim Orange
Bramley’s Seedling
Buckingham*
Bulmers Norman
Canadian Reinette
Catshead
Close
Crimson Bramley
Crimson King
Crispin
Dula Beauty*
Fallawater*
Fall Pippin*
Frösåker
Genete Moyle
Golden Reinette von Blenheim
Gravenstein*
Hausmuetterchen
Hurlbut
Husmodersäpple
Jonagold
King David*
King of Tompkins County
Lady Finger
Leathercoat*
Margille
Morgan Sweet*
Mutsu
Orleans Reinette
Paragon*
Red Bietigheimer (Roter Stettiner)
Rhode Island Greening*
Ribston Pippin* (struggles with brown rot)
Roter Eiserapfel (Has 47 chromosomes rather than 51)
Rossvik
Roxbury Russett*
Shoëner Von Boskoop
Spigold
Stäfner Rosenapfel( Has 48 chromosomes)
Stark
Stayman*
Stayman Winesap*
Summer Rambo*
Suntan
Tom Putt
Transcendent Crab
Transparente Blanche
Vilberie
Vixin Crab
White Astrachan*
Winterzitronenapfel
Winter Pearmain
Washington Strawberry”

https://www.suttonelms.org.uk/apple-vitality.html
“Six apples as "ancestors" of the 500 examined varieties
In 274 species (55% of those investigated) the six "ancestor varieties" are represented twice or more in the family tree, in 140 varieties (28%) at least three times, in 87 varieties (17%) at least 4 times and in 55 varieties (11%) 5 times or more.

By far the most common used `ancestor variety´ for breeding is Golden Delicious (347 times crossed into a total of 255 of the examined 500 varieties), followed by McIntosh (252 times cross-bred into 174 varieties), Jonathan (167 times crossed into 154 varieties) and Cox Orange (157 times crossed into 150 varieties). Following this is Red Delicious (95 crosses in 90 varieties) and James Grieve (101 crosses in 75 species). McIntosh and Red Delicious dominate American breeding programmes, and McIntosh has had a central role in developing Columnar varieties. Cox's Orange Pippin and James Grieve are more commonly used in the European breeding programmes.”

“When the six "ancestors" are observed in non-fungicide-treated orchards and compared to other apple varieties, their defects become obvious:

- Golden Delicious is extremely susceptible to fruit and leaf scab and viruses
- Cox Orange is highly susceptible to cancer and scab , susceptible to aphids, powdery mildew, fire blight and viruses
- McIntosh is highly susceptible to scab, susceptible to cancer and mildew
-Jonathan is very susceptible to mildew and susceptible to `Jonathan-spot', fire blight and scab. Untreated foliage looks sickly.
- James Grieve is susceptible to canker, sap and leaf aphids, red spider, fire blight, and scab
- Red Delicious is moderately susceptible to scab”

“There are however orchards growing old varieties which thrive for decades relatively free of scab, even in unfavorable climatic regions or at sites where the modern dessert apple cultivars will not grow successfully. Such apples include Brettacher, Edelborsdorfer, Eifel Rambur, Finkenwerder Prinzenapfel, Jacob Fischer, Lohrer Rambur, Luxembourg triumph, Martens Seedling, Prince Albrecht of Prussia, Rhenish Winterrambur, Rote Sternrenette, Seestermüher Zitronenapfel and Zabergäu-rennet”

“Genetic predisposition is only visible in fungicide-free orchards
Two years of non-fungicide growing were carried out at Dresden-Pillnitz about a decade ago (Fischer, 2003).

Four modern varieties were found to be scab and mildew-free: Rebella, Reglindis, Remo, and Rewena.

Of the older varieties, some were found to be equally resistant, e.g. Red Sternrenette, Bittendfelder, Börtlinger wine apple, Erbachhofer, Engelsberger, Early Victoria and Cardinal Bea.”
 
Michael Helmersson
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Apple trees grown from seed have the advantage of potentially having resistance to some or all of the common diseases. And if the seeds come from the same region where they are being planted, they can be better adapted to the soil and climate there. It just seems like such a big advantage, but it comes with uncertainty about the fruit quality. I wish we could set aside our impatience and unwillingness to take chances, so that we can let apple trees regain their true nature. What if our fixation on growing the best grafted varieties is keeping us from discovering far better ones?
 
May Lotito
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I am excited to announce that my apple tree is blooming! It was sprouted from seed in 2021 and only takes 3 years to flower. I bought a pink lady apple tree from the big box store and hand pollinated both of them. I am anxious to see what the fruits are going to turn out.
Resized_20240404_141826.jpeg
Apple trees
Apple trees
P4048206.jpg
Bloom darker in color than pink lady
Bloom darker in color than pink lady
P3137917.JPG
Strong spur bearer
Strong spur bearer
P4048210.jpg
Loads of flowers
Loads of flowers
 
Steve Thorn
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That's so exciting May! It really looks like it is going to produce quite a few apples so I bet you'll get a good sample!
 
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