How to Grow Apple Trees From Seed

How To Grow Apple Trees From Seed

Have you ever tried to grow apple trees from seeds collected from an apple? It certainly makes good sense that they would germinate. They are seeds and seeds are supposed to grow, right?

I’ve heard people say apples seeds collected from apples are hybridized and therefore can’t grow because hybrids are sterile.

They are correct in that most commercially grown apples hold hybridized seeds inside. They are probably incorrect that this is the reason why your apple seeds don’t germinate.

Bees bring pollen from one tree to the next. If the bee recently visited a delicious apple tree then visits a granny smith apple tree the resulting apples would produce delicious x granny smith seeds.

You might come up with the next award winning apple variety but don’t count on it.

These seeds are not going to produce a granny smith or a delicious apple tree. They would produce a tree with mixed genetics.

Granny smith and delicious are hybrids themselves, this means the new seeds would be ploy-hybrid. This doesn’t have much to do with viability; the seeds can still be fertile. The myth that seeds collected from hybridized apples are sterile might be caused by the fact that apple seeds need to be stratified before they will germinate. Stratification means the seeds have to be treated with cool temperatures for a certain length of time before they will germinate. Most people probably don’t think to stratify their apple seeds. The seeds never germinate hence the idea that they are sterile or infertile.

If you collect seeds from an apple and put them in soil or a terrarium, your apple seeds likely won’t germinate for 2 reasons. The seeds need a dry out period followed by a stratification period. If you skip these 2 steps you probably won’t have success germinating your apple seeds.

If you want to germinate apple seeds collected from an apple first let the seeds dry out for 3-4 weeks. Set the seeds on a piece of wax paper etc and roll them over every day or 2. After a month or so the seeds lose that dark shine and get a lighter dryer look. This is a good indication the seeds have dried well.

Once the seeds are dry put them in a container or zip lock bag. You can also add soil if you wish. Place the container or bag in your refrigerator for about 3 months.

If you chose to add soil you can moisten the soil after about 10 or 11 weeks. Keep a good watch on the bag and let fresh air in often. You should start to see leaves popping out of the soil in a few weeks if everything went right.If you didn’t choose to add soil you can try to plant the seeds directly into pots or in the ground. If you time it out you can let the seeds dry over the winter and put them into the refrigerator 3 months before the frost usually leaves. Cool weather seems to help apple seeds sprout as well. Commercially grown apple varieties are usually grafted to a wild variety rootstock. The wild variety will be hearty and adapted to the local climate. This method not only produces more apples, without grafting, certain varieties wouldn’t be able to grow in certain climates. Grafting allows commercial farmers to produce more varieties in limited opportunity type climates.

This brings another complication into the whole idea of growing cross pollinated apple seeds. You don’t know it the new variety you get will be tolerant to you local climate. The tree might simply die off after a winter or 2.

If you do manage to succeed in starting apple trees from seed don’t forget to protect them from critters. Rabbits and deer like to eat fruit trees, especially young tender ones. Put up some kind of fence for rabbits and use other defenses against deer etc.

Deer, rabbits and other herbivores have also very likely been the culprits of that mystical apple tree that appeared in your field or at your cabin and in those areas that don’t usually get mowed. Animals eat apples and the seeds that pass through these animals can still be viable. I’ve seen many apple trees spring up in my aunt’s horse pasture when I was growing up. We would collect apples from wild trees growing in the woods and feed the scabby ones to her horses in the autumn. The following summer new apple trees would sprout up around the pasture.

A Good time to collect apple seeds is when mom is making an apple pie. Sometimes I eat an apple I think is exceptional and save the seeds. Who knows I might get lucky or I might just have a little fun.

Growing apple trees from commercially grown seeds isn’t really a bad thing. It would make a great project if you are interested in seeing what kind of apples you will get. I suggest starting this project at a young age if you want to see the results though.

Another reason to start apples from seed would be for a science fair project. You could try germinating apple seeds that have been stratified for different periods of time, some that were frozen, some that were never stratified and see which method produced the best results.

Good luck with your apple seeds!

Collecting and growing seeds is one of my many hobbies. Visit my website from more information. Seeds

Protecting Trees With Bird Netting

If you have a problem with birds, you have probably tried many solutions. Some of the most popular include plastic animals, scarecrows, wind chimes, or highly reflective tape. All of these things can do a great job of reducing bird problems. I have quite a few cherry trees in my backyard, and I used to struggle a lot with birds. After I applied all of these solutions, my problem went almost completely away. Unfortunately, the solution only lasted a few months.

Apparently, birds have a natural tendency to get bolder as time goes by. While at first my scarecrow scared them senseless, now I look outside and see them sitting on his shoulder. And munching on cherries from my tree. Those insolent little fiends! I’m not saying I mind birds. I love having them around my yard. But you see, I’ve already designated one tree specifically for allowing birds to eat off of. But it seems that birds can’t be content with what they’re given. They always feel the need to go over to my own trees when there is a tree just for them that doesn’t have any scary things around it.

I saw many gardening stores marketing a type of bird netting. I decided to use it. Bird netting is basically a giant net that you throw over the entire tree. The holes are about one half of an inch wide. I purchased enough of this to cover one whole tree. It was quite a hassle to install, but it definitely worked after that. I didn’t have any more problems with birds taking cherries from that tree. But one day I woke up and made my daily rounds. On that day, I found 2 birds caught in the netting that had been choked to death. I felt absolutely terrible. I buried the birds and immediately took down that netting. I didn’t want to protect my tree at the cost of the birds’ lives! Sure, I’ll kill off a few bugs, but birds are a little too nice for me.

For a while I felt too guilty to prevent the birds from eating any more. I thought that I would make it up to them by letting them feast on my cherries. I even took down my scarecrow. But a few months later I saw something in a fabric store that made me rethink my generosity. Almost every fabric store sells a material called “tulle”. It is very fine netting with holes too small for any bird to fit its beak or head into. While it is easy to find, it is also extremely cheap. Buying enough to cover one tree ended up costing less than half of what it cost for the lethal bird netting.

I installed the tulle onto my tree (I’ll admit it was a lot harder to install than the bird netting was. I had to attach several large pieces together at the seams) and watched it for a day. I wanted to keep an eye on it every second, so that if a bird got caught I could quickly help it out. Fortunately, no bird ever got caught. Tulle is a much safer and cheaper alternative to bird netting, and I suggest it if you have any problems with birds. Just remember to let them have at least one tree for themselves! Sharing with birds is an essential part of being a good gardener.

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