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BackWoodsHunter
04-11-2011, 10:21 PM
There is a lot of talk on here about growing fruiting trees from seed and because of that I have started on the adventure as well. I have a question though so I don't feel like I am wasting my time. Does anyone have any pictures of mature apple trees they grew from seed? How many years along are they and are they producing fruit? We had a guest speaker come to school a few weeks back saying you can't grow a good apple tree from seed she is a specialist in growing and pruning orchard trees. Any pics would be great thanks guys and happy planting tis the season!

bigmike
04-11-2011, 10:36 PM
we have found some around our property that are probably 30-35' tall. im sure they came up from seed. we walk every spring looking for blooming trees then release them when we find them. if that counts.............

kenhorton
04-11-2011, 11:24 PM
I think that starting apple trees from seed is kind of like going to a pot luck supper in that you don't know what you are getting until you are there. We planted two small apple orchards with six seed grown trees in each when we first purchased our land in 1990. The trees took over ten years to start fruiting and when they did, the few apples produced were mostly small, scabby and deformed. The trees are about 20' tall now and generally don't produce enough apples to draw any appreciable amount of wildlife. Maybe we were just unlucky with the seeds that we selected to plant.
It is fun to start apple trees from seed and watch them grow into full size trees. Hopefully, your results will be better than ours but remember that the trees will still have to be pampered for a couple of years then transplanted and fenced to protect them from deer for a few more.
Personally, if we could start over we would either purchase disease resistant trees from quality nurseries like Adams or Cummins or graft our own trees with scionwood of known disease resistant varieties on a rootstock like B118.

Nova
04-11-2011, 11:54 PM
When I started this adventure I didn't really know what to expect other than I will have no idea what kind of apple tree will grow. I still don't know or care, but if I grow 50 apple trees and get 5 that produce fruit I'll be happy. I too would like to hear other results on growing them from seed.

BackWoodsHunter
04-12-2011, 12:01 AM
I think that starting apple trees from seed is kind of like going to a pot luck supper in that you don't know what you are getting until you are there. We planted two small apple orchards with six seed grown trees in each when we first purchased our land in 1990. The trees took over ten years to start fruiting and when they did, the few apples produced were mostly small, scabby and deformed. The trees are about 20' tall now and generally don't produce enough apples to draw any appreciable amount of wildlife. Maybe we were just unlucky with the seeds that we selected to plant.
It is fun to start apple trees from seed and watch them grow into full size trees. Hopefully, your results will be better than ours but remember that the trees will still have to be pampered for a couple of years then transplanted and fenced to protect them from deer for a few more.
Personally, if we could start over we would either purchase disease resistant trees from quality nurseries like Adams or Cummins or graft our own trees with scionwood of known disease resistant varieties on a rootstock like B118.

That's kind of where I am at. I am a college student and have a fair amount of free time naturally but with the headaches of planting trees from seed, moving often (living in a house in college town during the year, home for summer, back to a different house in fall) and having to transport the seedlings with me for a little while at least a year before they can be planted outside is it really worth it? Maybe I just sacrifice in a few other areas and plant some 1-2" dia trees from a nursery that are disease resistant and will produce fruit. Our entire land is in northern wi and is covered in over grown popples and a stand of jack pines someone thought was a good idea to plant. We only have about a dozen oak trees on our land, maybe 2 dozen, and not a single one produces acorns so the last thing we need is more fruitless trees...

Michbowhunter
04-12-2011, 07:06 AM
I'm doing the same thing right now and not sure what I will get but its fun and I dont really care. If no fruit then at least the deer can browse on them.

innova
04-12-2011, 07:24 AM
Its fun to mess around with seedlings (I still do) but for serious apple production why not learn to graft?

My grafting knowledge cost $20 for a seminar plus about $20 in materials. Honestly the seminar instructor wasn't that great and I learned more from reading various references online. I can buy rootstock for about $1 apiece and scion wood is free.. just hit your local orchards during spring pruning and ask for the material.

My grafted trees are starting year 3 and some already have flower buds. The tallest was about 10 feet tall before I headed it back when transplanting.

For those guys with seedling trees you can also change the species without killing the tree - google 'topworking apple trees'. Seedling trees are usually great for rootstock because they are hardy and vigorous.

johnrpb
04-12-2011, 12:42 PM
If your goal is to have producing apple tree's in the shortest amount of time, grafting your own trees or buying trees from ACN or CFO is definitey the way to go in my mind. I put in ~80 tree mixed apple/pear orchard last year with a combination of trees from Lowe's, ACN and CFO and think i should be able to expect decent production in 3 years.

If you order 25+ trees from ACN you get a pretty significant price break and could probably put in a 25 tree orchard for around $350 (excluding fencing which gets expensive).

You may have seen my pictures of the pears/apples that i've been growing from seed. To be honest I really didn't start growing them with the intention of trying to produce alot of mature trees from them, it was more of an experiment to keep myself entertained since I live/work in the city. I've been relatively successful with it and i'm excited to see what they turn into, but i'm not really expecting them to make that large of a contribution to the soft mast production at our farm.

sandbur
04-12-2011, 08:43 PM
I'm still on dial up, do I don't post pictures.

I have trees that are 15 -20 years old, grown from seed, and they are producing apples.

The apples I have seen grown from seed in central Minnesota tend to be slightly over 2 inches (maybe 3 at most ) in diameter. This is zone 3 of Minnesota-right in the middle of the state.

I like them for their hardiness. My in laws, and grandma in law who is now gone, grew apples from seed for 70 plus years. Maybe nothing special like Honeycrisp, but good enough for a pie and good enough to gnaw on! Some of the trees hav elived for over 40 years and usually produce every other year. Wiith pruning and fertilization, they might bear every year.

I imagine there is a fair amount of wild crabapple blood in the apples.

BackWoodsHunter
04-12-2011, 09:19 PM
Thanks for the tips guys I will look into grafting for sure and see what courses outside of school I can take on the topic. I understand the enjoyment of growing apples and feeling successful about it but at the same time I'd like the gratification of seeing some big red apples with deer feeding under them. I know in our area they would be a huge draw due to lack of agriculture and browse available to the deer that isn't popple buds or briars. I have 25 wild plums going in this spring to form a thicket so I hope that is a good start as I begin messing with growing my own apples.

Thanks for the reassurance sandbur I hope they grow successfully and produce fruit like yours do.

sandbur
04-13-2011, 07:52 AM
Its fun to mess around with seedlings (I still do) but for serious apple production why not learn to graft?

My grafting knowledge cost $20 for a seminar plus about $20 in materials. Honestly the seminar instructor wasn't that great and I learned more from reading various references online. I can buy rootstock for about $1 apiece and scion wood is free.. just hit your local orchards during spring pruning and ask for the material.

My grafted trees are starting year 3 and some already have flower buds. The tallest was about 10 feet tall before I headed it back when transplanting.

For those guys with seedling trees you can also change the species without killing the tree - google 'topworking apple trees'. Seedling trees are usually great for rootstock because they are hardy and vigorous.

I would like to learn to graft trees, but I am almost out of room. In a year or two, perhaps Easy can give me some pointers. I did try grafting about 20 years ago, just based on a book. With the posts from Ben I think I could do much better.

sandbur
04-13-2011, 08:01 AM
That's kind of where I am at. I am a college student and have a fair amount of free time naturally but with the headaches of planting trees from seed, moving often (living in a house in college town during the year, home for summer, back to a different house in fall) and having to transport the seedlings with me for a little while at least a year before they can be planted outside is it really worth it? Maybe I just sacrifice in a few other areas and plant some 1-2" dia trees from a nursery that are disease resistant and will produce fruit. Our entire land is in northern wi and is covered in over grown popples and a stand of jack pines someone thought was a good idea to plant. We only have about a dozen oak trees on our land, maybe 2 dozen, and not a single one produces acorns so the last thing we need is more fruitless trees...

I don't know how far north or what USDA zone you are in.

I have an old newsletter fromt he NOrth Central Experimental station, Grand Rapids, Mn. It was written after the record cold winter when Tower, Mn. reached -60. the station had -45 and their strawberry plot reached -50. I think it was 96-97.

They reported which trees did the best through the cold winter. In general the crab apples were most cold hardy and they listed the specific varieties. Some of the Russian rootstocks like antanovka did almost as well.

I have land in somehwat the same climate as Grand Rapids. I do not see any wild apple trees in that area. I suspect that the crabs maybe a better choice as the trees will not get a lot of care. The soils are also very much lighter.

I hope this information will help you select trees or seeds sources for your area.

BackWoodsHunter
04-13-2011, 10:05 PM
Great I will look into that thank you. I did some poking around in the local nursery today. They have a bareroot room there and I was shopping the apple tree section. None of the names you provided are anything I recognize but I will go back and look further. I will also look more into planting crabs vs apple trees too. The trees will get a lot of care though, I am in school to be an arborist (one semester left) if I plant a tree it won't be neglected :D

I am going to try to find some info on grafting and maybe take a class or two this summer. Some places sell rootstock for the sole purpose of grafting correct? And do you have any idea how long it takes for grafted trees to bear fruit?