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Will pit fruits grown from seed breed true

 
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Hi Toby, I've asked this before but I'd like to get your take on it. Will pit fruits grown from seed breed true, and if so, can they be left unpruned without growing so tall they fruit is out of reach. Also, if one grafts a tree grown from seed, isn't that a form of pruning that will require the tree to be forever pruned? Thanks.
 
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which pit fruits are you talking about in particular?
 
eric firpo
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Mainly peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries.
 
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Those fruit trees grown from seed will tend to grow from 15 - 30 feet tall, depending on the variety and conditions.
 
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Most stone fruits grow more or less true from seed, unlike apples and pears. They may reach a different height than the parent tree, since they aren't grafted to a controlled rootstock. Seedling plums tend to be thorny and tall, so grafting them gets you a more useful tree, but seedlings can grow very vigorously and self-select for your local conditions, so they have their advantages too.
 
eric firpo
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Thanks for clearing that up.
 
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An inexpensive means of getting a good orchard would be to plant the stones and later graft known cultivars to the young tree. These will produce true to variety.
 
eric firpo
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I'm sure I'll do some grafting on trees grown from seed, but others I'll just let 'em grow and see what happens. Thanks for the responses.
 
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here where we have acerage to play with so it doesn't really matter if you get a dud, I've planted several trees from seed/pit/nut. I've so far been fairly happy with the results, although probably not a known fruit, in most cases, still very edible. My self seeded apple that is the largest and closest to my house has really good eating apples and it bears very very heavily each year (unless it freezes late)..the one that is beyond my pond, has the wierdest dry apples, but if they are picked as soon as they ripen, they are still quite juicy and very tasty..totally different than I've ever seen.

I tend to grab seeds, fruit and nuts off of whatever trees, shrubs, etc that I'm around as we have a 10 acre oldfield that I throw them out into, this year I have thrown out berries for the birds as well as plums, oaks, mtn ash, apples, pears and others..hopefully some of those will grow. Sister in law last year gave me two peaches she grew from seeds from the trees in her yard near Toledo..always a surprise what you get..but that is half the fun.
 
eric firpo
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Sounds really cool Brenda!
 
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Toby,

When you say will grow true to seed, what does that mean?
If the stone fruit, say apricot was grafted, is the now grafted fruit true?

Also I have hear if one grafts to a tree, if the graft is essentially the same size as the branch grafting to then it will be just as strong a tree, any thought here?

I also find in many areas, like N California, that strong root stock wouldn't seem that critical because the weather is relatively mild.

Thanks if you answer.

Sammy
 
Toby Hemenway
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My firsthand experience with this is limited to plums. The grafted variety grows from a seed, or at least it looks and tasted the same to me. I have been told this is the case for alls tone fruits. I assume it is true for apricots, but don't know for sure. I think someone ought to find a more certain source of info on this; mine was from a very experienced Colorado orchardist, but ya never know.
 
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I'm trying to grow a lot of trees very rapidly for planting at the various community food forests that I'm working on. I'm told that plums grow fairly true from seed, and I'm curious about people's experiences with other stone fruits. What are people's thoughts now, seven years after this thread was written? I've got some peach and plum trees that are bearing this year and was hoping to use the pits for propagating a ton of trees. If they're duds I suppose we could graft onto them down the line.
 
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James, I think that's exactly the right attitude, especially if you're trying to do the most for the least.

Any stone fruits that you plant that produce healthy root stock can be grafted to, as has already been mentioned. I think the key thing now might be to just get the pits in the ground and concentrate on your herbaceous and woody-stemmed supportive guilds and other fruit crops.

One approach I really like the thought of, though I haven't yet experimented personally, is air-layering. I love the idea of doing this on grafted branches, such that the rooted cuttings that are produced are exclusively the plant material of the scion wood. Of course, if you don't yet have the trees, this is a discussion for later, when you have grafted or non-grafted trees that you want more of.

Good luck, though. I love the idea of the project you're working on, if it's the same one as mentioned in other threads. The sprouting of new life is poetic and compelling, and is a draw to the uninitiated. Inspiring others in this way is, I think, what people of the Jewish culture might call a mitzvah.

-CK
 
James Landreth
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When I harvest the fruit this summer and fall what should I do with the pits? Put them in pots with soil or stash them in the fridge?
 
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James Landreth wrote:When I harvest the fruit this summer and fall what should I do with the pits? Put them in pots with soil or stash them in the fridge?



I have had the best luck putting the pits in damp compost or potting soil and keeping them in the refrigerator until they begin to sprout.
 
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James Landreth wrote:When I harvest the fruit this summer and fall what should I do with the pits? Put them in pots with soil or stash them in the fridge?



They both work well for me. Watch your timing though if you put them in the fridge. The temperature is always the same in there so the pits don't know when it's spring and you'll often get them sprouting way too early to plant out - in my climate anyway.

If you don't have a lot of pits, you might want to crack them open to get a better germination rate, especially for the peaches.

If you have old pits or if you harvest them early summer and put them in the fridge late fall and they've dried out, you can also increase germination rates by soaking them in water for 12+ hours.
 
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I just collected cherry pits today that I want to plant. It is an extremely dry climate so I don't think it's good to keep the pits dry until planting thm in the autumn for stratification. So if I put them in some soil, should I keep them at ambient temperature for the summer and then keep them cold, or should I put them in the fridge now?
 
James Landreth
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Thanks for the thoughts and information everyone!

Also, I have the same question as Rebecca if anyone cares to answer it! :)
 
Trace Oswald
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I haven't done this myself yet, but I've done plums this way, and been told it works the same for cherries.  You clean the pits of all traces of fruit, and let them dry completely.  After they are dry, store them in a sealed container until Jan or Feb.  At that time, put them in damp compost, potting soil, vermiculite, whatever, in the refrigerator at 35 degrees or so for a couple months.  They can be planted out after that.  Keep them damp until they spout.
 
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Can you just plant them in the ground now?  Then they'll get their cold stratification this coming winter in a manner that's closer to what nature intends.  I did that with 300 plum pits last year and about 50 came up this spring.
 
Trace Oswald
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Mike Jay wrote:Can you just plant them in the ground now?  Then they'll get their cold stratification this coming winter in a manner that's closer to what nature intends.  I did that with 300 plum pits last year and about 50 came up this spring.



Mike, I have done that with quite a few trees, and my success rate is probably 10 to 20 percent (that's a guess).  By keeping them in my refrigerator, I'm at above 50 percent.  If a person has plenty of pits to plant, I think putting them outside as you suggest is probably the way to go.  
 
James Landreth
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I could, I'm just worried they'll get confused and germinate before fall then get frosted
 
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If the goal is to mimic nature, she drops them on the ground when the fruit is ripe and drops fall leaves on top, or asks a squirrel to bury them for her.  That said, she's willing to accept one new tree for who knows how many seeds/nuts, and most humans just don't have that level of acceptance. The people who are encouraging planting from seed in place so there's no tap-root destruction are usually planting an acre or more fairly densely and planning on thinning if more survive than are expected. I have so little sunshine to work with that I tend to plant in pots following whatever the web recommends to improve the odds of germination. I'm not too concerned about the breeding true part because of the back-up option of grafting coupled with my personal concern that we've humanized many of our edible plants to the point that it's unhealthy for us and the planet. I have to limit my numbers because I have limited space and ability to baby them until I can get them into their "forever home". Even then, I've lost many plants - most recently one of my two young Mulberry. There are places where mulberry is considered an invasive weed, but not this place!
 
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Hold up, so if I buy a bag of Rainier cherries from the store and plant them, I will end up with a bunch of baby Rainier cherry trees? Sorry if this is a dumb question, for some reason I thought cherries worked pretty much like apples in that a seed wouldn't breed true.
 
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The best way to determine how well fruit trees grow from seed is to go foraging in your area.

Here are some peaches I foraged a while ago near train tracks. Somebody was probably eating a peach on the the way to or from a train and chucked their pits over the fence, which grew into 2 trees. The fruit were small and had some fruit fly problems but I managed to get a decent feed out of them. It was growing on the side of a hill in poor soil with no water source, so they seem to grow extremely hardy from seed (Sydney has hot dry summers). After that experience I definitely think you could grow peaches from seed and get even better fruit with proper pruning, thinning and disease management.

I've also seen loquats growing in the wild and in my experience they fruit well with no pruning, fertilisation or irrigation. Extremely hardy trees.
IMG_20180212_111656_799.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20180212_111656_799.jpg]
 
Jay Angler
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There is a good chance the fruit will be smaller. People don't realize how dependent modern fruit trees are to drip irrigation and artificial inputs. In the real world, like my farm, the strawberries and raspberries are the size they were 20 years ago. However, the flavour is more intense, and I hope the level of micro-nutrients and nutrition are greater.
 
James Landreth
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Meg Mitchell wrote:Hold up, so if I buy a bag of Rainier cherries from the store and plant them, I will end up with a bunch of baby Rainier cherry trees? Sorry if this is a dumb question, for some reason I thought cherries worked pretty much like apples in that a seed wouldn't breed true.




Cherries I'm not sure about. A Bing cherry seedling exists right across from me and doesn't seem to have useable fruit. But you could always graft onto it as we've mentioned, so nothing lost really.

My understanding is that apples (and likely other pome fruits) come poorly from seed usually, but even then, so long as you're willing to graft over them if they're terrible, it could be worth a shot. My understanding is that nuts, apricots, plums, and peaches are fairly true from seed, as are pawpaws.

Does anyone here know if Aronia berry are decent from seed?
 
Trace Oswald
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I think when you grow from seed it's always a crap shoot. The good news is, if you grow from seed, as long as you have land, you aren't out anything other than the time you spent. I've grown lots of trees from seed and if you figure the time it takes to collect the seeds, dry them, put them in the ground or the refrigerator, and plant them out, including fencing, I doubt you have more than a half hour per tree, probably much less.  Here is an example. A couple springs ago, I picked up two garbage bags of honey locusts pods. I took the seeds out of the pods while my lady and i watched a movie. I boiled a pot of water,  shut the heat off, and threw in 50 or 60 seeds. I left them over night and planted the ones that swelled. The ones that didn't, I left soak until they did. Then I planted those. About half lived.  I didn't need more than that at that time,  so I sent 5 or 600 of them to a member here. I haven't heard how many trees he got from them yet. I took me a couple hours to extract the seeds from the pods. It was about 15 minutes to pick the pods up. Maybe 15 minutes messing around boiling water. At most a half hour to plant them. Let's call it three hours of work for 30 trees, and I could have kept them all and had hundreds for not much more time. Suppose those were apple trees, like the 400 seeds I'm going to plant. Most apple trees that grow wild aren't bad, they just aren't great. So suppose of the 400 seeds I plant, 200 grow. I would expect 100 of them to be pretty good, but not great. Out of the last 100, probably some will be really good, some really bad, and a few terrible, and a few excellent. It will take me three or four years to find out, so people will say "it took me 4 years to get 5 great apple trees out of 400 seeds". I look at it differently. I think it took me maybe three hours of work to get 5 great apple trees, and on top of that, they were free. What do you really have to lose by trying?

This obviously doesn't work if you have a small space or are in a hurry.  It that case, growing from seed may not be the best option.
 
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I have a small yellow plum tree and a small purple one growing near me (I think they are Mirabelle and Damson but not sure.)  
Ive been planting the pits out in the world, along edges, trails, camp grounds, pull outs.  
With the idea that 30 years from now, people will have some wild food to eat.  My gift to the future.  From what I gather on these forums, growing plums from pits is good if land space isn't a limit.
I' leading 'Feed the Future' hikes around Portland Oregon, planting these plums.  Got the idea after finding the same yellow plums in Hells Canyon from a 100 year old orchard and enjoying them on a trip.
Any feedback on this endeavor?
 
Jay Angler
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@Dave Hill: First - any tree is better than no tree! Second - the fruit may not breed true, but can still be useful as animal feed or worm feed even if the taste is not ideal. Third - someone can always graft better fruit to the grown trees if the food is needed. Forth - getting people out hiking is an awesome goal all on its own. Some people respond to "purpose".
In other words - I think that it's awesome that you are doing this, and I would encourage you to keep doing it!
 
James Landreth
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Dave Hill wrote:I have a small yellow plum tree and a small purple one growing near me (I think they are Mirabelle and Damson but not sure.)  
Ive been planting the pits out in the world, along edges, trails, camp grounds, pull outs.  
With the idea that 30 years from now, people will have some wild food to eat.  My gift to the future.  From what I gather on these forums, growing plums from pits is good if land space isn't a limit.
I' leading 'Feed the Future' hikes around Portland Oregon, planting these plums.  Got the idea after finding the same yellow plums in Hells Canyon from a 100 year old orchard and enjoying them on a trip.
Any feedback on this endeavor?



Dave, I'm involved with planning some potential community food forests near Portland. Let me know if you want to be involved! Also, this year I will have pits from my frost and avalon peaches, I'd be willing to share if you'd like to plant them on your hikes!
 
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Thanks, James!  Very interested in some peach pits, and in the food forest projects!  The peaches do well, do they?   Where are the food forests getting developed?  FYI  My work cell for after 11 am only please is 503 869 674 eight.
 
James Landreth
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Hi Dave! They're going in all over. Near Portland they should be going in in Camas and Fern Prairie (WA) and also Longview (about an hour north)

Yes, those peaches are curl resistant and mine are producing abundantly this year just a few years in. I'll try to give you a call sometime
 
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Let’s suppose I plan to plant a pit seed like apricot or plum, and I leave the seed in the fridge to stratify.

Let’s say it sprouts but the timing is not Spring, can I plant it in a pot and keep it indoors out of frost till Spring and then plant it outside?

Thanks in advance for the advice!
 
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Elaine Jett wrote:Let’s suppose I plan to plant a pit seed like apricot or plum, and I leave the seed in the fridge to stratify.

Let’s say it sprouts but the timing is not Spring, can I plant it in a pot and keep it indoors out of frost till Spring and then plant it outside?

Welcome to permies, Elaine! It would be helpful to know what eco-system you're in (you can go to your profile page and add that - it does not need to be a specific location, but just plant zone and type of climate), but I'll just be general.

Yes, you certainly can start trees in pots, but I would look for tall, skinny pots so that you encourage long, "deep" roots. That said, what makes you think a tree needs to be planted in the spring? In my area, the experienced people will tell you that the best time to plant a tree is in early November when the plant is dormant so that its roots will settle in well during our rainy season. This fact doesn't stop all the nurseries from pushing spring plants - which leads the locals astray!

Generally, if you have seeds that have just started to germinate, you can plant them immediately, assuming you've got a place to do so (the main reason I end up with things in pots is that people give me plants I haven't cleared a safe place for as between the Deer, Bunnies and Himalayan Blackberry, a small seedling won't have much chance). The issue will be keeping the plant alive either in a pot or in the ground. Even if an adult plant prefers full sun, babies often benefit from a little shade, but that could be as simple as some flowers planted to the south and west assuming North America. Babies also may need a little water support if you have long droughts - although if your goal is a strong, independent tree, I recommend slow, deep watering followed by as long a dry spell as you think you can get away with, and there are people who've done studies that support my thoughts and definitely people well known in Permaculture who advocate this (look at what's called STUN - STUN takes an even sterner approach).

Also, if you've got lots of seeds and limited spots to plant, you can consider planting 3 that are germinating close together and then after a year or two, chop down two of them. The roots of the two that get chopped will decompose and feed the one that's left.
 
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Elaine Jett wrote:Let’s suppose I plan to plant a pit seed like apricot or plum, and I leave the seed in the fridge to stratify.

Let’s say it sprouts but the timing is not Spring, can I plant it in a pot and keep it indoors out of frost till Spring and then plant it outside?

Thanks in advance for the advice!



Here are 3 plums that I did exactly like that. I gathered them and put them in the refrigerator last fall, and planted them in root pouches when they sprouted in the frig this spring. These will go in the ground soon, either in my food forest, or, more likely, my new hedge row.
20200704_120255.jpg
 Wild plums
Wild plums
 
Elaine Jett
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Thanks, good to know.

I’m in 9b—mostly dry whole summer long till early Nov. I agree that winter with rain would be the best time here.

The notes on top, mentioned outdoor planting and Spring sowing, but perhaps that’s not the best for my SF Bay Area climate.

I have an avocado that I’m growing well indoors for going on 3 years.

I’m thinking to start an apricot / plum (or 3) indoors and bring it up to a good size before I plant it out in my residential yard.

-Elaine.

Ps:I’ll Try and put my zone in my profile.
 
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