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Growing Apple Trees from Seed Naturally

 
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Hi,

I'm wondering if I can get some help identifying this plant. I assumed it's an apple tree growing from some seeds that my son placed in a planter, but I'm not certain! Am I caring for a weed or an apple tree?

Thank you in advance!

Ed

 
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Hi Ed, welcome to Permies!

Looks like you've got an apple seedling. It looks very similar to how mine look. I think I can see some small branches forming lower down, which is great.

Hope you get some tasty apples!

Steve
 
Ed Lee
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Phew! Thanks Steve.

At this point, is there anything else I need to do to care for the seedling besides watering it?
 
Steve Thorn
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It looks good to me right now, yeah I'd just keep watering it. When it goes dormant in the Fall and loses its leaves, I'd plant it in a permanent location in the ground if you have a spot for it, and cover the ground around it in fall leaves, which will help hold moisture and build fertile soil as they break down.

Keep us updated on how it's doing!

Steve
 
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I am wondering how much do you all follow the suggested spacing for apple trees? My seedling apple is already over 5 ft tall with multiple branches, seems like it's going to be a big one. With 35 ft spacing, I have only one spot available, if going down to 20 ft,  I have more choices then. Or I can move a couple small ornamental trees out of the way. Also, when is the good time to transplant, late autumn or early spring?
 
Steve Thorn
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I'm currently spacing mine pretty tight, and the seedlings even tighter. My theory is that a lot of them may not work out, so by spacing them tighter initially, I'll waste less space, and then if I need to remove a tree that doesn't work out, its space can be filled by a good tree beside it, and that space isn't wasted.

I currently space my grafted named variety trees about 8 feet apart, and plan to do my seedlings about 4 feet apart since they have more of an unknown factor, and with about 10 feet between rows. 4 feet apart may seem tight, but with the 10 feet between rows they can expand in that direction more while being evaluated on how good the fruit is.

Sounds like your tree is doing awesome May!

Steve
 
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I stumbled on this PDF years ago and I'm using it as authorization to violate all the standard spacing guidelines:

https://justfruitsandexotics.com/wp-content/uploads/JF-Multiple-Fruit-Tree-Beds-1.pdf
 
Steve Thorn
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May Lotito wrote:Also, when is the good time to transplant, late autumn or early spring?



Late autumn has worked really great here for me, right when the leaves fall off the trees. It gives the tree a chance to get well established and grow some good new roots by the time next spring and summer come around.

In areas with severe winters though, it may be best to plant in early spring, after the severe freezes have passed and the ground is thawed. This gives the tree a chance to get more established during the spring and mild summer and prepare to harden off well to get ready for the upcoming severe winter.
 
May Lotito
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Michael Helmersson wrote:I stumbled on this PDF years ago and I'm using it as authorization to violate all the standard spacing guidelines:

https://justfruitsandexotics.com/wp-content/uploads/JF-Multiple-Fruit-Tree-Beds-1.pdf



Planting trees closely by the group! That's interesting. I happen to have four trees: peach, pear, mulberry and this apple seedling on four corners of 12 ft rectangle. No other big trees nearby so even lower branches get lots of sunlight. Maybe I don't need to move the apple tree.
20210903_122828.jpg
Positions of peach, mulberry and apple
Positions of peach, mulberry and apple
 
Michael Helmersson
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May Lotito wrote:Maybe I don't need to move the apple tree.



Like the PDF says, you're just doing what nature has always done. I'd rather have our food forest look like a clumsy, haphazard jungle than a precise gridwork of well-behaved trees.
 
Michael Helmersson
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olin erickson wrote:Things are taking shape, but 4 years here and I can’t seem to grow anything except flowers on my fruit trees.



I can relate to that. Actually, we have 3 trees that were planted 7 years ago and we still haven't gotten flowers from them, let alone fruit. I need to do some research this winter to find out if there's anything I can do to promote flowering, or if there's something I'm currently doing to inhibit it.  
 
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I collected several seeds from plum apple apricot etc then accidentally mixed them up but got one to grow in a pot after wintering them in my fridge then outdoors in early spring. I have many more seeds to try growing this coming season. I put the only one I have in a pot because I plan on selling my place but so far that hasn't happened cause I haven't found a place I can live with…forever.
 
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I've planted some apples from seeds about 6 years ago. Both that survived bore fruit. Small, very crisp, and tart/sweet. One tree almost all fruit were eaten by possom. The other tree was left completely alone. Not sure if this is down to the different genetics of the 2 trees, but I was glad that we didn't loose both!
 
Michael Helmersson
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Megan Styles wrote:I've planted some apples from seeds about 6 years ago. Both that survived bore fruit. Small, very crisp, and tart/sweet. One tree almost all fruit were eaten by possom. The other tree was left completely alone. Not sure if this is down to the different genetics of the 2 trees, but I was glad that we didn't loose both!



That's a pretty quick jump from seed to fruit. Good for you.
 
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My liberty on dwarfing stock croaked above the graft, but not before I got some seeds to try. Glad to see they are resistant to cedar apple rust, I forgot that, and I definitely saw it on a cedar tree this year. They are various heights, the tallest being about 7 ft. I am going to keep them trimmed, don’t want them blocking sun to my paw paws.

I have heard that a trained tree is more healthy than a grafted dwarf. So We will see.
 
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We've been planting apple seeds whenever we find a sprouted one inside an apple. I think they are easy to find when you have apples that have been sitting in cold storage for a year. Not the best tasting apples but lots of sprouting seeds! At our current house we planted a whole bunch of seeds into pots 6 years ago and then neglected them for a year. The 2nd year we planted the survivors out into our "orchard". And then ignored them, mowed over a few, let them get overrun by blackberries, accidentally weedwhacked them and allowed deer and voles to munch on them.

Last year was year #5 and we were pleasantly surprised to get our first apples on the biggest seedling. I guess it's a type of crabapple which would make sense since a lot of orchards have crabapples planted with their named varieties to help with pollination. It gets absolutely covered with gigantic pink blossoms in the spring and loaded with clusters of fruit that look like giant cherries. My kids call them "cherry apples". They are very sweet. You can eat one in 3 bites which is great for the kids who sometimes like to only take a couple bites from fruit before getting a new one. I'd like to try cooking them whole and running them through my food mill to get the seeds out. They would make a delicious sauce.

This year was a repeat performance. Absolutely no watering. It got a little limp looking during our crazy June heatwave but it didn't hurt the fruit production.

(Edited to fix some typos that were confusing.)
20211020_174135_HDR.jpg
Apple and crab cross seedling with a lot of apples
20211020_174238_HDR.jpg
Apple and crab cross seedling with a lot of apples
20211020_174332.jpg
Apple and crab cross seedling with a lot of apples
 
Steve Thorn
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Awesome looking trees and story Jenny! So cool!!
 
Jenny Wright
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[quote=Jenny Wright] we were pleasantly surprised to get our first apples on the biggest seedling. I guess it's a type of crabapple which would make sense ... [/quote]
You can't really tell from the picture but the tree is a single tree with lots of branches from the base. This came in handy last winter when rabbits tried to girdle the base of most of our trees. This apple tree only had nibbles on the sides of branches that were facing outwards and none were completely girdled.

I do wonder what its bushiness will mean for it when it gets old. Will the branches grow together? Will the close branches at the base make it more susceptible to disease? Will the base be less sturdy than a single trunk? I assume it will just keep sending up suckers but I don't think that's a bad thing since it's a seedling and all new growth will continue to grow the same fruit. It will be interesting to see what happens with it.
 
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Hi , I'm doing the same here in Jamaica check out my apple nursery

My Videos Growing Apples in Jamaica
Apple-Tree23_1.28.1_1.28.1.png
Maluseed Growers Nursery
Maluseed Growers Nursery
Growing-American-Apple-Trees-In-Jamaica-(Warm-Climates)_Moment.jpg
Maluseed Growers Nursery
Maluseed Growers Nursery
 
May Lotito
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After cleaning up the tomato bushes, I am able to take the end of season pictures of the 7 month old apple sapling. It is essentially a 6" ft stick with some short branches.  Still I feel this growth rate is pretty fast for an apple tree.
PA316163.JPG
First year apple, 2and year peach and 3rd year mulberry trees
First year apple, 2and year peach and 3rd year mulberry trees
P1160212.JPG
Some branching near the base
Some branching near the base
PA316160.JPG
[Thumbnail for PA316160.JPG]
 
Steve Thorn
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Wow, yeah I'd say that's extremely fast! It must have a really good spot and be well adapted to your area!
 
May Lotito
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I'd like to share this article about young tree with lots of short branches and why it's better NOT to clip them.

https://gardenprofessors.com/inspecting-nursery-plants-part-iv/
 
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I have just set up a pot of potting mix and compost and scattered all the seeds from a batch of "Lady Apples" that were gifted to me in there. These are a variety of crab apples that are apparently being trialed by some commercial orchards - when I look for genetic information I only find articles on the provenance of the Pink Lady Apple, which these are definitely not. I have no idea if I'm hobbling myself or making things harder than they need to be by using a cultivated crab apple. I can't wait to see what happens!
 
Jenny Wright
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Just started a new batch of some seeds since the apple I cut open had 15 seeds, 12 of which already had nice roots. I am unable to just toss them in the compost so onto the counter they go!
20220212_120121.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20220212_120121.jpg]
20220212_120129.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20220212_120129.jpg]
 
I got this tall by not having enough crisco in my diet as a kid. This ad looks like it had plenty of shortening:
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