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Apple seedling care?

 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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I cut up two Pink Lady apples and the seeds inside had sprouted. I put the seeds in some leftover potting soil in some leftover cell packs and now they've got roots and the beginnings of leaves. I'd love to have big standard apples in the pasture (and am willing to fence them off for a few years if necessary to keep them alive). My question is, what do I do to get them from sprouts in cell packs to trees in the ground? Should I leave them to get a few good leaves then move them to the garden for a year then transplant them? Do I need to worry about rabbits while they're so tiny (garden has a bunny problem)? Any other advice?

I know the apple quality is variable but if the cows/mule/pigs are just going to eat them when they fall I really don't care, and maybe I'll get lucky and get good apples for eating or cider.

I've got around 15 seedlings (so far).
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 458
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I'd say do nothing special. Just put them in the ground before the roots develop too much. If there is still a chance of frost, cover them at night with a soda bottle with the bottom cut off.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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I would protect them from bunnies as well as livestock. Make them some cages but get them in the ground to develope roots...just my thoughts on it.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 365
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Year 1: 1 gal pot
Year 2: 5 gal pot
Year 3, transplant and mulch - protect the base or just cut the bottom out of the 5 gal pot, and probably put a 6' fence 3' diameter around the tree if deer or big livestock may damage it.

Year 7: test out the apples and report back
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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Renate, I'm working on a similar situation with my pastures. I've got cows, sheep and chickens rotating under pecan trees. THey are large enough that I don't have to protect them but I'm working on adding other trees for fruits/fodder/nitrogen fixers etc. I've only planted about 25 trees so far and have protected them with a ring of 4' welded-wire fencing supported by 2 t-posts. Its working with the sheep but I'm pretty sure the cows could just push the wire in to get at the leaves. I'm thinking of adding some pvc cross supports at the top and bottom...I'll let you know if it works.

I'm also want to get into seeding some fruit trees...we have 4 types of apples that grow here in Florida. I plan to save seed and plant them out. I'm sure the animals will take care of any apples you don't like and you can always graft on some branches of ones you do. Mark Sheppard wrote about this in his book "Restoration Agriculutre". I highly recommend it.

Good luck!
 
Henry Jabel
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Rabbits and deer are both worst offenders for round here in southern England.

The last apple tree I started from seed I planted out at the end of last year was completely eaten. It was atleast 4 years old. Its making a recovery now but it will be a couple of years before its back to the size it was.

I also planted an egremont russet tree a few years ago. The bark was stripped down one side by a rabbit however this damage caused it to split over the cold winter. It regrew from the roots suprisingly quickly and is looking good this year, but it did set it back a few years.

I planted chives and garlic round the tree thinking that might help protect them. However they simply ate them aswell!
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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I forget how many trees I put in the garden, 16 I think. Of those I've got 5 left. They look pretty good. I have 2 more that I grew in pots indoors that made a lot more growth but don't look close to being hardened off for the coming winter yet, so I'm getting them used to being outdoors now. Their leaves are soft while the ones that have been in the garden are dark green and glossy and much tougher.

I put some sprouting seeds in the garden as well. They just kind of disappeared. I think they dried out during a short dry spell.
 
Miles Flansburg
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I save the seeds from every apple my family eats. Every kind that we can buy at the store. I have planted hundred of seeds, well scattered them for mother nature to deal with really. I am hoping a few of them make it.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I am not familiar with your climate, but I would say that now is a good time to stop feeding, or otherwise nurturing them. You do not want any new growth on them, this late in the season.

Any new growth will be vulnerable to winter conditions. The plants need to start preparing for winter dormancy now, and any new growth will hamper that process.

As a general rule, I feel that the summer solstice is the cut-off point for any feeding in order to help the trees get ready for winter. Any feeding after that is counter productive to Mother Nature's plans.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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