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Growing Apple Trees from Seed Naturally

 
Posts: 100
Location: north okanagan
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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
 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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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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