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Picture of Growing Apple trees from seed.
 Hello.
I am going to tell you how to grow apple trees from seed. This is a lot more complicated than just throwing a few seeds in the ground, but with my help I can show you how.
 
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Step 1: Materials needed

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 You will need:
An apple
Compost
Pots
Paper towel
plastic bag
Knife
Later On:
Grafting tape or Cling film
Grafting Wax or Masking tape



Step 2: Getting the seeds

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 Now, Carefully cut down the middle of an apple and take out the seeds. You may need a few apples always remember on average only 30% of your seeds will germinate.

Step 3: Getting the seeds to germinate

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 Now we need to get our or paper towel and wrap our seeds in them. Wet the paper towel and put it in the plastic bag. Make sure the plastic bag is sealed tight, and put it in the fridge. Your seeds should take about a month to germinate but check every few weeks and wet again if dry. Your seeds will start to have little white sprouts coming out of them soon enough thats when you know there ready for planting.

Step 4: Planting seeds

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 Once the seeds have germinated just drop them into any pots about 1 - 2" deep and cover in good compost. Then just watch them grow.

Step 5: The most important step: Grafting

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 This step is vital or you apple trees will not produce any apples.
First wait until your apple trees are about 30-60 cm high.(Like in picture)  
Now there are many different methods of grafting apple trees but the one I use and find most helpful is the "Whip and Tongue" graft.

Use pictures to help with the graft. Pictures used on random pieces of wood for an example.
Firstly you get a piece of wood (Scion wood) from the variety of apple you want.
Then you cut down at an angle on wood.
Now make an identical cut on the apple tree.
Then cut downwards on the sliced wood. Do this on both tree and scion wood.
Then push together and wrap with cling film and then masking tape.
Done.
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so what IS scion wood exactly? is it the small branch above the fruit? or is it the stem before it's dried out to sell? im really confused on that part. also is there a way to NOT graft the saplings? cause im thinking on Golden Del apples and Braeburn apples. maybe fuji.

KarlB8 months ago

Have I misunderstood... I propagate my seeds - they grow - and then I lop the top off and simply use the root-stock from my dearly beloved seed?! In which case I'd be better off using a fast-growing root-stock from some other species and grafting my desired apple variety to that? Won't my seedling eventually blossom and then fruit left alone? If not can you tell me why please? Thanks!

You've not misunderstood. The benefit you get from doing it this way is that you get a larger tree, which may or may not be desirable. The other "fast" growing rootstocks, aren't fast growing, they reach fruit bearing age earlier. If you want a full sized tree, I would suggest buying Antonovka seeds as they are true to seed and produce an edible apple if you don't want to graft them, but they can still be grafted.

Also, you can buy apples in late spring such as Fuji that have seeds that are likely already germinated. That's what I did last year as well as the antonovka.

Andi19851 month ago

I moved to Greece and had a Pink Lady apple with the seeds already germinating inside. I have planted hem and have 5 healthy little shoots. I don't understand grafting! I have tow olive trees on my land that I have cropped back to the trunk and 3 stump branches, can I graft the Pink Lady trees onto the olive trees, or do I have to grow a different variety from seed and then graft the Pink Lady onto them?

The seeds that you have plant will not be pink lady apple even if they came from it. it will be a random apple most likely bad in taste. So you let those seedling grow a little bit and then you take a small branch of an apple tree that you know that produce good fruit and connect it with the seedlings that you have. of course you must cut a part of each seedling in order for your branch to connect. Try plant nectarine peach apricot or cherries most likely they produce good fruit sometimes little worst from what they came from sometimes even better. Personally i have great success with apricots the taste is 100% better than the mother plant but they are so easy to break and must handle very careful.

Many thanks for your reply, I live on the island of Kefalonia and we have very few garden centres, unfortunately friends that have bought apple trees have ended up with fruit that is very Woolley and not crisp or sweet. The trees are also expensive here as they have to be shipped in. Can you recommend a good variety that is crisp and sweet that I could perhaps order on line.

also fruit trees in Greece are very very cheap you can find most bare root fruit trees like fugi apple for 2,50 euros and if in a pot for 5 euros.

lindadash1 month ago
lindadash1 month ago
bcolvan2 months ago
fresnojimmy2 months ago

Trying to remain positive and constructive: There are so many wrong pieces of information on this thread that no one has corrected. First of all,

1. A "honeycrisp" apple seed does not grow a tree that will produce "honeycrisp" apples. Apple seeds do not grow true to their cultivars, which are usually propagated by live tissue. Therefore, it would be unnecessary to grow a "honeycrisp" from seed to graft it onto any other rootstock. Secondly, there is a PATENT on honeycrisp apples, and most other recently commercially developed, that makes it illegal to use them as scion wood!

2. This means that the seeds from the prized 51 year old Macintosh may grow seedlings that revert back to any combination of its ancestors that were cross-bred to produce a "Macintosh" apple. It's fine as rootstock, but no reason to use it as scion wood.

3. "Lets get one thing straight, the procedure of grafting is used to stunt the growth of the scion?"

Grafting is not done to "stunt the growth" or "dwarf" the resulting tree, unless you are grafting onto specially-bred rootstock for this purpose that you have to buy. Grafting any apple onto a seedling-grown rootstock will produce a full size (think 20 feet mature) tree.

I am doing this with seeds from my Dad's 51 year old Macintosh. It took 5 months for the seeds to germinate. They are now growing in small grow pots with potting soil. This is where I have lost 4. My question is: is this rootstock or can it be the scions? Sorry 2 questions. Can my rootstock be the same type of tree as my scion? It sounds like you have made your seedlings the rootstock. Thanks for the info. Cindy
jones.tonie4 months ago

These are granny smith apple seeds that have been in the fridge since October 15 2014. When should I plant them in dirt? I live in Virginia zone 7. I have been asking this question for awhile and no response.

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Those seeds are definitely ready to be planted. I can't tell you when they should be planted outdoors, but I would get them into some small pots to start them out in and keep them in a place with full sun. Be careful not to put them into too large of pots. If you do it can actually be worse for the seed than starting them in a small pot. Normally when I plant mine I just put them into little dixie cups until they are ready to be transplanted. Good luck with your trees!

JainilS5 months ago

If I didn't mind what type of apple I wanted, would I still have to graft it? Also, if I am growing my first tree, where can I get scions?

JainilS JainilS5 months ago

**Edit** I want an edible apple, though.

JoeS55 months ago
Okay so I started the germination process on two different types of seeds one set were from a red delicious, that I don't like too much but theyre already sprouting and at the same time I started the process on seeds from honey crisp they have not yet started to sprout, but when the time has come where can I get scion from honey crisp? There are no Apple trees in my Area that I know of

quick question...I have a crab apple tree in my yard about 10' tall...if per say I wanted to grow honeycrisp and or granny smith would I start with those seeds and then graft a branch from the crab apple tree? or would I grow those seeds and then chop off the tops and graft to the crab apple tree?

the scion wood is your actual tree where the apples come from, it is possiple to graft on honeycrisp and granny smith branches to your mature crab apple tree if you wanted to go that rute

So my best bet would be to graft desired cuttings to the crab apple tree then?

Not necessarily, it would be more work than a new tree but it is
something you can do if you wanted to get useful production out of the exsisting plant. It may be worth the money to buy a finished ready to plant start. The
root stock controls how large the tree will get and how many seasons it
takes to get apples, a purchased tree start with have that information,
doing it yourself may be somewhat unpridicable

fruits grow from seed are often not true to type, seeds acquired from a granny smith apple will most likely produce a crab apple tree, any given variety of apple originated from cuttings from one single tree some farmer was luckey enough to grow from seed and have it produce tasty fruit in some cases 100s or years ago and are genidically identical to all outhers of the same variaty

If you are grafting scion wood to root stock, does it matter what species the root stock is? For example, could I graft onto an established pear tree?

Lets get one thing straight, the procedure of grafting is used to stunt the growth of the scion, it does not alter the DNA !. That means that your tree will have half the genes of the original variety, and half of the pollinator, NONE of the root stock. This myth seems to come up time after time. Some varieties of apple will self pollinate too. As to what you get, who knows, but at the end of the day, all varieties came from seeds in the beginning. Grafting was, and is, the only way to ensure that you get copies of the same tree, proof for those who want it, that the grafting does not affect the fruit.

Who knows, you may get a better fruit than the original, that's the fun part.

aliroussel8 months ago

Cross pollination is required for a tree to produce fruit. The fruit is a direct result of its flowers being exposed to the pollen of another apple tree.

bjones73251 year ago

Hello there, I have around ten apple trees that bear fruit. When you plant an apple seed gotten from the food market apples, keep in mind that most likely the apples you are eating are most likely grafted onto the tree itself. For example, a Red Gala apple tree may have both a Golden Delicious and Granny Smith growing on it at once. When you graft a tree, only that branch is "taken over", not the whole tree. But the tree's DNA makes the apples have Red Gala seeds in them despite the grafted branch. So, you may be eating a Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple but the seeds are really Red Gala. And about the apple tree turning into a crab-apple... These two trees are part of the same genus, which means that they can reproduce together. Keep in mind that pollen is sort of like sperm and blooms are sort of like the female egg(s). A tree cannot bear fruit unless it's pollinated by either human or insect. Bees are the most common pollinators. Bees land on flowers to drink their nectar, which is then fed to the queen bee. Pollen, produced by the "male" stamen, is accidentally accumulated onto their legs, which when the bee lands on the flower, some of the pollen is transferred to the flowers' "female" stigma which then in return will bear fruit. So, crab-apple pollen CAN be transferred to a regular apple tree be accident in nature. Crab-apples are wild trees that grow in nature so an apple tree planted by a human in the wild will most likely become a crab-apple unless multiple domestic apple trees are planted together. So, if you plant an apple tree, be sure to plant multiples!

The DNA in the branch that bears the fruit will be the DNA in the flowers, it will make up half of the seed in the apple. The DNA in the trunk of the tree does not affect the DNA of the apples, it affects how the trunk feeds the branch with the apples, how hardy it is, will it cause the tree to be a dwarf because it affects the growth of the tree itself. Your Granny Smith apple will have half the DNA of the Granny Smith apple tree and half of whatever it was pollinated from. If it is pollinated by a crab apple, the new tree will have half the genetics of the crab apple. If it is pollinated by a Granny Smith, it won't be exactly the Granny Smith you started from, as the genes will be half of the original trees... but not necessarily the same half, there will be some mixture. To have exactly a Granny Smith, you must clone or graft the original wood for your fruiting branches.

A tree planted in the woods will be whatever its genes dictate, it's offspring will likely be half crab apples though.

"But the tree's DNA makes the apples have Red Gala seeds in them despite the grafted branch" I'm pretty sure you cannot transfer DNA through the branch from the root stock. The resulting seeds are part the grafted stock and part the contributing apple. The grafted stock is what produces the bud, and therefore the flower.

Trees grown for fruit production are entirely grafted from a particular apple; almost like cloning.

fg11 year ago
About 4 weeks ago my 5 year old daughter ate an apple, she usually eats the whole lot but this time decided to put aside 2 seeds. She asked me to plant them in a pot with compost so i did (not thinking they would grow). Now we have 2 apple plants growing on our kitchen windowsill, there about 3 inches tall! They are Granny Smith apple seeds, so will it produce granny smith apples or a whole new breed? I did try this with cherry stones too but had no luck so they are in the fridge cooling ready to be planted in 10 weeks
Mikagussler fg111 months ago

Granny Smith apples, or Malus domestica, is a self-fertile plant, which means it doesn't need another type of tree to germinate. Therefor, unless you have another variety of apple, you will undeniably get Granny Smith apples. If you wish, however, to grow a new variety try planting your Granny Smith apples close to one of the varieties listed at this website, it includes apples this company offers and ones they do not offer. http://www.orangepippintrees.com/pollinationchecker.aspx?v=1129 Also, your Granny Smith is a Group 3 apple, which means it is harvestable in late autumn. Hope this was helpful and informative!

RoBear613 fg111 months ago

Your trees, like you, are a mix of genetics; so what you'll get is anybody's guess. It takes generations of selective breeding to get the store bought varieties. In order to maintain consistency, production trees are grafted from a mother tree onto "hardy" root stock; disease and pest resistant.

AltLife11 months ago

Last fall we took all the over rip bruised and deer eaten apples from our ancient tree and crammed them into the remaining stump of a long dead brother of the tree. Stomped on them a few times and threw some grass clippings on top

This spring we had about 20 little seedlings in the stump. We've thinned them to 1 now it's doing fine.

sbhavsar31 year ago

I have sowed directly in soil (without making them to sprout) around 12 seeds of an apple in this January, out of which 2 have bear leaves and they are about 2" tall. Can I expect fruits from them without any grafting? If yes when?

You may be able to get fruit, but don't expect it to be like the fruit you bought. It is a hybrid, like you, of the two apples. It takes many years for a tree to reach fruiting maturity.

Where does one obtain desirable scion wood?

vanart051 year ago
I live in Pa. It is cold in the winter time. My apple tree is in the pot and about 5 inches tall. should I bring the pot inside during winter time?
Views from someone who had an internship breeding apples:

1. There is fundamental misunderstanding, in this article, of how apples are bred and grown.
2. Red Delicious originated from one seed, Honeycrisp originated from one seed, all varieties of apples you find in the store, originate from one seed. They are then cloned through grafting. Planting a Honeycrisp seed will not produce a Honey Crisp apple. Only by grafting (cloning) a piece of a Honeycrisp tree, can you get another Honeycrisp apple tree. Planting apple seeds will produce new, random, and unique apple trees.*
3. A good reason to graft your apple tree would be to put it on dwarf root stock. These are specially bred trees, grown for their roots. These roots are hardy, will produce shorter trees, and produce fruit earlier. This root stock is available online if you are interested.
4. Grafting one apple seedling onto another apple seedling is pointless. All you are doing is swapping one mystery apple tree onto the roots of another mystery apple tree. The characteristic of apple that the tree will produce is determined by genetics of the top graft, which is determined at the time of pollination of the seed. The act of grafting doesn't change the grafts genetics.
5. While your understanding of this is incorrect, your skill in grafting is excellent. Apple root stock is cheap, and grafting material is usually free if you know someone who has a tree. This is a good way to plant an orchard for almost free.
* I spent an internship working at the UofMinnesota apple breeding center (the same one that produced Honeycrisp), we would start by making crosses, then plant over a thousand seeds, we would then let nature kill most (test for cold hardiness and disease), the survivors would be grafted onto root stock. We would go through the fruit that these seeds produced, most where discarded because of small fruit size, poor fruit quality, bad flavor, ect. But a very few would stand out and be the next big apple for the market.
ok then so does all the crossbreeding mess with the seeds germination rates, anyhow id very much like to know. im not into grafting but am into cuttings.

i don't know if anyone else noticed but i have noticed that alot of store bought
apples and stuff like that their seeds do not grow they grow well in the fruit in all
but are useless.
The apples aren't actually being crossbred per se. The word crossbred has several different definitions in botany, it can get confusing at times. All the apples are Malus domestica so all the breeding that is taking place is within the species, just as it would in nature. The reason for low germination is different.

The author was kind of on the right track with germinating the seeds in the fridge. Certain plants, apples included, greatly benefit from a process called cold stratification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratification_(botany) . That is, they undergo winter like conditions for sometimes months before germination. That should greatly increase seed germination.

Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan does a pretty good job of explaining the issue of breeding apples. FYI.
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