Apple seed Question

goudreauDecember 10, 2012


I want to plant some apple seeds out, I know the chance is about 10,000 to one in finding anything worth keeping but Im looking to give it a shot.

My question: The apples have been refrigerated the past month, are they still worth planting out?
They are mostly heirloom apples and some, like Black Oxford are just ripening up in cold storage.

Also, I have a large Ruby Tears crab apple I was thinking of planting the seeds from. Any advice?

I was thinking of pulling the seeds out, washing them, let them dry, and then put them into a ziplock bag with medium in the fridge till spring... I have also been mulling over the idea of taking the seeds and planting them into large pots and overwintering them outside. Thoughts?

Thanks, -Jeremiah

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megamav(5a - NY)

The apples are merely carriers for the genetic bond between 2 pollen partners (the seeds). I'd like your chances more if you knew what the other pollen partner is.

Note: Seedling trees can grow in excess of 30 feet.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:26PM
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2 pollen partners?
the seed is from one grain of pollen (generally from unknown source) and the ovum of the parent tree on which the apple grows.

I hear the odds of seedlings apples being good as astronomically high all the is just not the case. All my life I have harvested and used feral seedling apples. certainly they are not all "winners" but I would say that 10-20% are passable eating with maybe 5% quite good. Many of those that are not good eaters out of hand are very useful in cider as quite likely their parents were as well (a lot of the abandoned farmstead orchards were primarily for cider)

I have never taken the time to grow out seeds. Feral trees are so plentiful I figure the deer and birds have already done it for me 20 years ago and not I can get to the business of sorting the results. I think it is a fun project idea should you have the time and space to play with it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:03PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

I probably should have said GENETIC partners.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

I think the seeds in your apples will be fine for planting--as long as the apples haven't rotted.

Several years ago I grew some from seed for fun, and got quite a few seedlings. I took the seeds out of the apple in mid to late fall, rinsed them off and let dry in a dish for a few days, then planted shallowly in a pot--it was probably some time in November. The pot was placed under the drip line of the roof of the shop on the north side and semi-buried with leaves and some leaves laid on top of the pot. In late April/early May the next spring, I had seedlings filling the pot, pushing up through the layer of leaves. I transplanted them to a row in the garden as soon as I could, then when they got 3' or so high, moved them to spread them out permanently. None of them have bloomed for me yet, but they have had a lot of challenges, mainly drouth, deer, and grasshoppers and I just feel lucky that they are surviving at this point.

I placed them under the drip line of the roof because we get very little moisture and I didn't want to have to remember to keep the soil in the pot moist. If you live in a wet climate, just put it outside where it will get some snow or rain over the winter to keep the soil moist.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:19AM
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How long it takes the apple seedto grow into producing tree. My pure guess it can take 10 years. I am not that patient. I grew a mango from a seed not really to have producing tree but just for decoration on the patio.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:45AM
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I am planning on grafting them over to dwarfing root stock the second year, so I dont have to wait so long for the fruit.

Spent the morning picking crab apples and taking the seeds out.
Here is a pic of Malus 'Ruby Tears' seeds... about 110 so far.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:12AM
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I beleive grafting immature scion onto dwarfing rootstock will speed them up, but not in the same way as grafting mature scion.

As it was explained to me (and I would appreciate a correction if I got it wrong) any grafting will "reset" the scions vegetative/fruiting maturity somewhat.
Dwarfing rootsotcks will speed the rate at which maturity is reached, but if you begin with a immature scion you will wait much longer than if you took scion from a mature tree.

Maturity is supposedly devloped from the trunk out, so that if you cut back a tree hard/down the resulting suckers/ watersprouts have been "reset", and grafting to them can take some time to fruit. Likewise if you graft mature scion to the tips of mature trees you can see fruit in short order.
I have not ever been given a explanation for a cause of this relationship, although it has been born out true in my limited experiments. I assume it is in some way related to diffusion of growth hormone over distance...but that is just a guess

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:15PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Now THATS good information Rob.
Thank you.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:56PM
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This is a physiological change that most plants go through. They have distinctive juvenile and adult phases. Entirely different sets of genes are activated in adult tissue than in juvenile tissue. You can read quite a bit about this in any good book like Plant Propagation Principles and Practices.

A simple way to look at it is that grafting tissue that is already adult tends to retain the traits of being ready to reproduce. A similar graft using juvenile tissue still has to go through "puberty" before it can reach the same stage. A typical result is that a graft of adult tissue will produce fruit in 1 to 3 years. A graft of juvenile tissue will take 2 to 6 years to fruit. By comparison, leaving the plant on its own roots might take 8 to 10 years which is typical of pecan for example.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Glad to share it Eric, I meant to post something to that extent in the thread you started awhile back on hybridization, but the kids were all over me and I am a slow typer....

DarJones, that is essentially how it was outlined to me. Glad to know I didn't botch the memory too badly. It is something I wish to read upon in more detail.

Do you know by what mechanism the gene activation/suppression is accomplished? Obviously there is a great deal of plasticity in the material (scion) to revert to vegetative state. And clearly the understock (and even location on the understock) has an influence on the rate at which re-maturation occurs. So what physiological factors are at play upon the genetic expression?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:27PM
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