Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

growing apples from seeds vs. cloning

 
Posts: 407
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
15
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, I don't think they did that in the windblown study, which I also discounted since it would stand to reason that any trees blown over would be selected for "no taproot" by the wind. But Kolesnikov dug them out, and recently some work has been done using ground penetrating radar ( https://academic.oup.com/treephys/article/19/2/125/1651017 ):

A ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technique was used to study the three-dimensional distribution of root systems of large (DBH = 14 to 35 cm) oak trees (Quercus petraea (Mattusch.) Liebl.) in relatively dry, luvisoil on loamy deluvium and weathered granodiorite. Coarse root density was 6.5 m m−2 of stand area and 3.3 m m−3 of soil volume. Maximum rooting depth of the experimental oaks was 2 m, and the root ground plan was significantly larger (about 1.5 times) than the crown ground plan."



Oaks are supposed to be a taprooted species, but if there were any on these, they only penetrated two meters or less.

Root Distribution of Some Native Trees and Understory Plants Growing on Three Sites Within Ponderosa Pine Watersheds in Colorado
( https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_exp_forests/manitou/rmrs_1958_berndt_h001.pdf ) includes root diagrams from trees in the field. Prominent taproots are absent except in one case, where its depth couldn't be determined because it penetrated a crevice.

I've dug out my share of stumps by hand and never had to deal with any big taproots. It may be that trees shed them as they get larger so they have enough play to shift with the wind instead of just breaking off like they would if the trunk continued straight down. What's good for a small tree may not be good for a big one.

No doubt some trees have strong taproots, but they don't appear to be preferable or even necessary. As for the utility of planting fruit trees from seed, it's a most worthwhile endeavor and if the fruit does happen to turn out nasty, those trees can easily be topworked with something more desirable (or the fruit could be fed to hogs, or turned into hooch and/or vinegar!).
 
pollinator
Posts: 1770
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
53
bike forest garden solar tiny house purity wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This all thread started with the real question "Seed in place vs. transplant"! + "cloning by grafting vs. cuttings"

These real good question and ideas are not matched by the title.... (I am frequently upset by the choice of words in communication, and this is the case for the title imo here)

Grafting is done on a SEEDLING anyway. Grafting is cloning, but cuttings are the most typical way of cloning that cannot result in a tap root.

paul wheaton wrote:My understanding is that the taproot is really sensitive. If you transplant a tree, it no longer does the taproot thing.



I have planted 2 apple trees, 7 and 3-4 years ago.... and if i ask you which, you will give the wrong answer unless you guess I asked to catch you!

I just planted from the pot the still miserable 7y+ apple tree.... and i almost killed the "now nice one" when i planted it. When I saw the roots in the pot, I put the ball in water and then unfold everything and planted by forcing the roots downwards. I thought it was going to die, but then there was an explosion of life. I don't know if it has a tap root, but obviously it could thrive.

Would the problem with pots be more than about tap root? Maybe it is about the sap not having to pass a siphon! Maybe I have enough imagination to put myself in the shoes roots of a plant.... or am I projecting? :)
 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
4
trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Supposing you have an orchard, or planning one. And you want to add to your nursery from seed from your orchards trees. Wouldn't it be great to cut down on the time it takes to get your first fruit from the seedlings you grow. If in your orchard you plant some trees that are known to be precocious then their offspring will also be precocious. Look at the image below as evidence of what I say. That image is from a study a 100 years or so ago called A study of the results of Crossing Varieties of Apples by Clarence C. Vincent for UMass.

It becomes obvious looking at that image that you can produce fruit faster growing apples from seed than from seedlings that you have to pay for. This is probably exaggerated because the apples shown in the image are examples where both parents are precocious. The important point to get from the study is that precociousness is an inheritable trait.

So what apples are precocious, here's a list:

 Ben Davis  

 Empire

 Cortland

 Cox's Orange Pippin

 Esopus

 Golden Delicious

 Grimes Golden, same apple as Golden Delicious??

 Jonathan

 Mann

 Redfield

 Wagener

 Wickson

 Yellow Delicious (Everfresh)

 Zestar


So my suggestion is that you plant a precocious apple thru out your orchard. But how do you know which seeds will have the trait. Well I'd guess that if you harvested seed from the precocious tree that they will have that attribute. And I'd also say that if your precocious tree was also a delicious apple you'd get some very good,early bearing apples.  Let's say you have a Cox's Orange Pippin in your nursery. Some say this is the best tasting apple there is, and it's an early bearer. If you plant seed from apples from that tree I'd guess you're going to get better apples from a cross between a cider apple and that crab apple next door.
AgeOfFruitingGRAPH..jpg
[Thumbnail for AgeOfFruitingGRAPH..jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 473
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
58
dog duck hugelkultur
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This debate reminds me of people’s misconceptions about the Back to Eden gardening method, where the key element of chickens processing the woodchips first is often forgotten. I think from his proclamations of membership in the church of Sepp Holzer (praise be!) that Mr Wheaton is basing his assertions about planting apples from seed come from the venerable Austrian master. I understand his method to be using mash/must from cider, brandy or other mass processing of fruit as your seed source. By planting the leftover pile of partially fermented seeds and fruit leftovers, you get thousands of seeds to start with in their ideal starting medium (rotting fruit). Put this in your intended orchard location and let it go STUN style and self select for suitable genetics for that location. What you end up with are trees you can selectively thin for heartiness or other characteristics, and if you don’t like their fruit you can graft on desirable varietals of scion.
 
pollinator
Posts: 602
Location: 6a
118
dog forest garden hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know.  I have had poor luck with apple trees until this year.  The Heirloom varieties that I planted suffer every year.    I finally planted a bunch of liberty apples and their pollinators and they did really well with almost no illness or rust on the leaves.  Cornell built or bread the Liberty apple crossbreeding Kazakhstan

trees.  So now that I have bare root trees anywhere from 6 months to five years old I'm going in hard on the seeds.  I'm not really pleased with store bought anything unless it comes from a Permy and it's a good stock.  Everything I have planted from good seed is exponentially more vibrant.  I'm not sure on the Asparagus yet,

we will see if it makes it through the winter.

 I did a bed last week and put about 200 seeds from a pear tree that has to be at least 100 years old.  We will see how they do or if the birds will get them.  I'm excited to say that I received my Kazakhstan seeds from Cornell.  I can't wait

to plant them.  I've been reading about the Kazakhstan forest for so long I can't tell you how happy I was to get my seeds.  I'm as happy as a pig in doo-doo.










 
John Indaburgh
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
4
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If my point is correct then we could examine the parents of an apple on the list for the trait, and we can look at the offspring of a listed variety to see if the attribute carries to its siblings.
 
gardener
Posts: 683
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
178
bee fish food preservation forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Scott Foster wrote:  I'm excited to say that I received my Kazakhstan seeds from Cornell.  I can't wait

to plant them.  I've been reading about the Kazakhstan forest for so long I can't tell you how happy I was to get my seeds.



That is so cool, I didn't know it was possible to get those seeds! Seems like a great way to introduce more genetic variety and resistance in apple trees!
 
Scott Foster
pollinator
Posts: 602
Location: 6a
118
dog forest garden hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Steve Thorn wrote:

Scott Foster wrote:  I'm excited to say that I received my Kazakhstan seeds from Cornell.  I can't wait

to plant them.  I've been reading about the Kazakhstan forest for so long I can't tell you how happy I was to get my seeds.



That is so cool, I didn't know it was possible to get those seeds! Seems like a great way to introduce more genetic variety and resistance in apple trees!



Yes, it's super cool.  I was under the impression that I could get the seeds that were actually collected in Kazakhstan but the seeds you actually get are from the trees that have been bread from the seeds.  I'm not sure if that makes sense.   I'm super excited to try these.   It's like a grand-gardening adventure.



 
Posts: 89
Location: Central Indiana
9
books homestead kids
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm teaching the kids about apples and growing their seeds this year.  We've got 3 that we've started from seed that are coming up right now.  It's really awesome to share this experience with them.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 683
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
178
bee fish food preservation forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jonathan Ward wrote:I'm teaching the kids about apples and growing their seeds this year.  We've got 3 that we've started from seed that are coming up right now.  It's really awesome to share this experience with them.



That's awesome Jonathan! They'll probably look back on this with very fond memories when they're older.

I had someone who planted seeds with me when I was little, and it was the spark that began my love for growing things!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 683
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
178
bee fish food preservation forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have an apple tree that I started from seed from a grocery store Red Delicious apple I think, 15 years ago that I'm going to hopefully root a cutting from this year and plant at my current home. It is currently growing where I used to live, and I still have access to the property.

It was the lone survivor eventually out of about 15 trees, mainly due to my negligence, but compared to the other ones it did amazing!

This poor tree survived being planted in very poor soil (almost pure sand), getting stepped on by neighborhood dogs twice when it was extremely young which broke it off to ground level each time, and also being transplanted to a location where it gets only an hour of direct sunlight each day.

It has survived our humidity and being in the shade like a champ, with no disease issues whatsoever, and has grown to over six feet tall even in these horrible growing conditions.

I'm going to hopefully get my first apples from my own trees this year, and I'm excited to plant those seeds since I know the parents produce good apples and do well in my climate. Hopefully the offspring will take after them a little bit and do even better!

I'm not counting on my old apple tree to produce great fruit, but it would be a great surprise if it did! I think it will really grow quickly once I plant it in a much better spot, and i think it could provide some good genetics for future generations for disease resistance and vigorous growth!
 
Jonathan Ward
Posts: 89
Location: Central Indiana
9
books homestead kids
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is an awesome story.  We are looking at living at this place for at least another 18yrs so I'm trying to put some things in the ground that potentially my grandkids could use.  If I never saw one apple, cherry, mulberry, or nut  but knew my kids and grandkids could it would be all I could ask for.
 
pollinator
Posts: 177
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:Something I would like to explore a lot more is the idea of growing apples from seeds.

My understanding is that if your grow an apple from seed, it will have a tap root.  Any other way and it won't have a tap root.

And ....  if you grow an apple from seed, the apples might be great or they might be lousy.  But even if the apples are lousy, I suppose you could graft good apple varieties on to the tree.

Anybody have experience in this space and can tell us about what to be careful of?  Are there some seeds that might be better than others?



As I understand it, the rootstock is selected for adaption to the local growing conditions and for its hardiness. The grafts are selected for their eating and/or cooking qualities. I would think that any seedling that is started in a tall-pot system would form a tap root.
 
I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed - shakespear. Unarmed tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!