• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

How long will an airlayered tree live, compared to one grown from seed?  RSS feed

 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Pacific Northwest
133
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My mother air layered an Orcas pear for me. I'm wondering how long the tree will live, compared to a tree grown from seed.

The main reason I'm asking is because I want a long-living pear tree to plant on my daughter's first birthday (I planted an an antonovka apple tree for my son's first birthday), but I don't want to plant one that will live at least 100 years. If you happen to know of a long-living, tasty pear, I'd love to know about it, too! .
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3211
Location: Anjou ,France
148
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If it's on it's own roots then I would expect it to live quite a long time and grow very large .
You might have to wait a while for fruit

David
 
James Freyr
Posts: 214
Location: Middle Tennessee
11
books cat chicken food preservation toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not entirely sure of the life expectancy of air layered fruit trees, but I can share what I know about growing fruit trees from seed and grafted rootstocks. Fruit trees like apple and pear grown from a seed will produce a tree that may look different and the fruit will definitely be different than the apple or pear the seed was collected from. They require another apple or pear tree as a pollinator and the seeds are a hybrid of the two. Apples for instance have about a 1:10,000 chance of producing a tasty, sweet delicious palatable apple from a tree grown from seed. That doesn't mean the the others aren't useful, as those sour apples are the kind used to make hard cider. Growing sweet tasty fruit is why when a cultivar is developed or discovered by accident, they are usually vegetatively propagated by grafting onto rootstocks to gain growing traits of the rootstock and to make trees that bear fruit of a known and proven variety. Back to tree life, if you do plant a tree from seed, it can live a very long time, like a hundred years or more in the right growing conditions, but the quality of the fruit will be unknown. Rootstocks generally have a known life expectancy window. Dwarf apples generally live 15, maybe 20 years. Semi-dwarf can go 30-40 years, full size rootstock over 50 years. There are of course always exceptions to the rules. May I suggest if you really want a long lived, delicious pear tree, to select a variety grafted onto full size rootstock, but you will likely be using ladders to harvest fruit in 25 years.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3211
Location: Anjou ,France
148
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the idea of using your mothers tree is just great . It will live I expect as long as your son provide fruit in abundance all his life
How about celebrating his 18th or and 21st birthday with a pear cider made from it's fruit . Sounds a good idea to me .
As for grafted pears I personally am going away from the idea of grafting for size and looking towards pears grown on there own roots as there are possibly less disease issues.
 
Sean Pratt
Lab Ant
Posts: 62
Location: Rensselaer New York
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i think there is every chance that this could go just fine with an air layered tree but one thing to note is that when you take from a living plant without sexually reproducing the offspring is really the same age as the mother plant.so if i take from a 100 year old apple that has been damaged physically to save the genetics next year i will have a 101 year old grafted tree. this isn't always an issue i know of one case where a annual was cloned for about 30 years before the gardener decided it just wasn't what it used to be. i often wonder if this is why select varieties of apples never taste as good as when we were kids. i speculate that the DNA is becoming wonky after so many years of asexual reproduction.  just food for thought. i didn't see it mentioned. i really love this idea i will plant one for each of my young family members this year in fact.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3211
Location: Anjou ,France
148
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mmmm then that would make all Bramley apples over three hundered years old .
I think that apples don't taste as good as they used too because these days different types are grown  . The shops want apples that last the farmers want apples that are regular ripen at the same time and can be picked easy . Taste is not high on the list of attributes .
 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Pacific Northwest
133
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did find this article about air layering (http://www.cropsreview.com/air-layering.html) and it mentions that the lifespan of an airlayered tree is shorter. How much shorter, though, I don't know! I do like the idea of using the tree from my mother to be my daughter's tree. It's rather symbolic, really! I just don't want her tree to die early, though...

David Livingston wrote:
If it's on it's own roots then I would expect it to live quite a long time and grow very large .
You might have to wait a while for fruit


I would love for it to get huge--all the more fun to climb and play in as she ages! The fruit will be an added benifit, whenever it arrives (my son's apple, for instance, still hasn't bloomed yet, as it's a sapling antonovka apple).

Sean Pratt wrote:i think there is every chance that this could go just fine with an air layered tree but one thing to note is that when you take from a living plant without sexually reproducing the offspring is really the same age as the mother plant.so if i take from a 100 year old apple that has been damaged physically to save the genetics next year i will have a 101 year old grafted tree. this isn't always an issue i know of one case where a annual was cloned for about 30 years before the gardener decided it just wasn't what it used to be. i often wonder if this is why select varieties of apples never taste as good as when we were kids. i speculate that the DNA is becoming wonky after so many years of asexual reproduction.  just food for thought. i didn't see it mentioned. i really love this idea i will plant one for each of my young family members this year in fact.


Fascinating about the age of the grafted/air layered trees! I'd never really thought about it that way. This tree is an Orcas. My mother has had her's for 5-10 years, and I don't think the Orcas variety has been around all that long... But, it wouldn't surprise me if a tree's genetics are so old, it might be more prone to sickness and perhaps less tasty.

Speaking of the flavor, I almost wonder if things don't taste as good as adults because as kids we just didn't care as much, especially if we picked the produce ourself. Like, I LOVED eating salmonberries and red huckleberries as a child. As an adult, now, picking salmonberries is often not worth the time once there's other fruit to pick, and the huckleberries aren't quite as amazing as I remember. Also, fruit fresh from a tree is SO much better than from a store, so if we grew up eating fresh and then buy it at a store it's going to be disappointing. Plus, maybe sometimes the environment a plant is growing in that changes the flavor. Wouldn't a tree growing in nutrient dense soils with just the right amount of sun and light taste better than one grown in poor conditions, just like with tomatoes? And, aren't our soils usually more minerally depleted than when we were kids? It'd be really interesting to know more about this!
 
Sean Pratt
Lab Ant
Posts: 62
Location: Rensselaer New York
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i often lay in bed at night wondering all of those questions as to why food isnt the same in peoples opinion as when they were a child. glad im not the only one who thinks it through!
call me purple for saying this but.... what ever tree you plant for your daughter will be the perfect tree for her. its just how it works in my opinion. im not yet 30 and many trees were dear to me as a kid. some still stand some still bear fruit some do not. the ones that didn't last just encouraged me to be more of a caretaker.
 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Pacific Northwest
133
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You're definitely not the only one staying up at night thinking these thoughts! I spent years of my life, from childhood, wondering why some red huckleberries were better than others. We had at least 12 different bushes on my parent's 1 acre when I grew up. Some were tiny and seedy, others were large and sweet with few seeds. For years I thought it was due to sunlight, or maybe the logs they grew out of. It was something I always wanted to chart and understand, but never got around to. But, just a few days ago I was reading about how modern pawpaw varieties came about: the breeders found the tastiest/largest/less seedy fruit in the wild and bred those to get better varieties. My mind is blown: maybe the exemplary huckleberries were due to their genetics, and not just where they were growing! Maybe one day I could breed those delicious, large huckleberries together to make larger and sweeter varieties that rival their cousins the blueberries. No one seems to grow red huckleberries, but maybe they would if the berries were all larger and easier to pick! Plus, red huckleberries grow and produce in the shade--there's not many plants that do!

Anyway, that was my totally off-topic ramble about huckleberries, but, yes, you're not the only one up at night thinking these sorts of thoughts!
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 170
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nicole Alderman wrote:I did find this article about air layering (http://www.cropsreview.com/air-layering.html) and it mentions that the lifespan of an airlayered tree is shorter. How much shorter, though, I don't know!.


The point the article is making is that the root structure of the air layered tree is not so good as it has not grown a primary tap root from when it was a seedling, so it may not be as long lived.  There are varieties of apple around that have been known for hundreds of years, and they are not all dying off in unison.  Same with potatoes.  It happens with bamboo varieties, because bamboo more or less dies once it has flowered, so if all the plants of one variety are genetically the same plant, curtains.  It's a good point also that a disease may mutate to be particularly virulent and kill off a variety that can't cope, this is happening with bananas I believe.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When properly air layered the scion will have an odd number of primary roots, there will be many secondary roots at the same time. Once you plant the severed scion, the primary roots will do the anchoring and form many branching roots.

Where I've seen people go wrong; they use the girdling method, this may or may not take, will allow willy nilly root formation and might not end up giving the needed anchoring from primary roots, They either make slits too short (under 3" long) or to long (over 5" long) these end up with either not enough roots forming to support good growth and health or so many that primary roots don't establish themselves.

I know of at least 150 pear trees, 300 apple trees and 200 peach trees that I air layered in the 1960's that are still going strong and producing quite well.

As long as you use care in the procedures and plant well, an air layered tree should do as well as a nursery grown from seed tree. Most grafted trees will live as long as the rootstock would grow.
Seed grown apple trees can be great, it is how the heirloom apples were first created, open pollination seeds planted and the best ones kept for fruit. (Land Race apple trees anyone?)

It is actually fairly easy, in your own orchard) to insure that the apple seeds will be true to species, just make sure there is ample distance from other varieties. 
We grow Arkansas Black Apples, since we only have Arkansas Black Apple Trees, the seeds will be true to species. (we are the only apple growers in a 30 mile radius)

Redhawk
 
Won't you be my neighbor? - Fred Rogers. tiny ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!