Apple tree seedling

forensicmomAugust 21, 2010

My 9 year old daughter took a seed from an apple, soaked it in water and it sprouted. That was a year ago in the spring. I planted it in a pot and left it on our deck all winter long, even through the enormous snowstorms. This May we planted it in the ground. It is now well over 6' tall and growing straight up.

Is there anything I should do to prepare it for another fall and winter? My husband said it needed pruning or something b/c it has one main branch growing straight up.

Any help?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey

from seed to 6 foot in 1.5 years... sounds like it is being fertilized .... and that could become a problem when it gets to fruit bearing age .... you will want to get the right fert to encourage fruiting [if any at all] .. rather than tree growth ... most likely something that does not favor nitrogen .... which can be a problem if this is out in the lawn ... and you heavily feed the grass ...

being seed grown.. you really dont know the heritage of the tree ... ergo.. you really cant predict what it is supposed to look like ... so its hard to speculate what to do with it ... obviously.. it isnt a dwarf variety .. lol ... so you are on your way toward a 20 to 30 foot apple tree ...

i have gotten many fruit trees by mail .... and they have been 3 foot sticks with some roots ... the year after planting.. they sprout all kinds of lateral branches ... but all of them have been snipped at the top ...

on the other hand.. i dont favor topping trees ...

so i am at a loss to tell you what to do ... other than contemplating why it grew so fast ....

you might want to try the fruit forum... as they do things completely different than the tree peeps ....

ken

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:24AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Leave it be. No need to do anything. And don't expect to get the same apple off the tree that you bought at the store.

Dan

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:23AM
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spruceman

Yes, just let it grow and see what kind of apple it produces. Seedling apples, maybe depending on the parentage, have a greater or lesser chance of being good edible apples. On my place in Western MD I like to leave these seedling apples to grow, at least until they produce fruit. I have had two really produce nice, and in one case, unusual apples. The one produces very large yellowish green apples that ripen in early August--very early for there. They are sweet, somewhat bland tasing, and soft. So not, in usual terms, an excellent apple. But it is earlier than any other apple I know of, so if I want a fresh apple off the tree early, these are nice!

The other one is a medium sized nicely colored red apple. To me it tastes better than the red delicious apple.

A friend--the wife of a farmer, who has since died, did a lot of cooking/jelly making/pie making, etc. Many, many years ago she dug up a small apple seedling fron along a fence line and planted it next to her front porch. Turned out, according to her, it produces the best cooking apples she has ever experienced or even heard about. I had it grafted a number of years ago, but accidents killed two of the resulting trees. One is left and belongs to my neighbor farmer. I don't think anyone who has access to these apples is doing any cooking with apples now. Sometimes I think this apple should be formally tested to see if it should be mass produced.

Well, you never know what you will get from a seedling apple. The story of the origin of the golden delicious is well-known. A farmer found it growing in one of his fields. I think it was back in the 1930's. Stark Brothers paid $10,000 for it, and that was really big money in those days. I think it is still the finest apple for eating fresh in the whole wide world--and it is a fabulous keeper. It tastes wonderful even when it is so old it has withered!

--spruce

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:38AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Sometimes the withered apples are best, in my view. When I practiced in WA state, one of our property owners occasionally let me on their land in the course of my duties. For some reason, my duties increased when the apples on the 2 heirloom trees were ripening because I had to beat the elk to the fruits...

Dan

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:25AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

As has been stated, the seedling tree will not produce apples like the apple that produced the seed. While there is some chance of it producing good quality apples, there is a much greater chance that it will produce something of lesser quality. No way to tell until it fruits.

The 20' to 30' height that Ken mentioned is very small for the mature height of a non-grafted apple tree. You're more likely to get a tree quite a bit larger than that unless you keep it under control by pruning. Since we're on the subject of pruning, your husband is correct, it will need to be pruned to keep its size under control and to encourage good fruit production. Even dwarf and semi-dwarf grafted apple trees need a considerable amount of pruning and branch training to amount to much. Full sized (ungrafted) trees will need more and more frequent pruning than the more typical grafted trees.

How and when (how soon) the tree should be pruned is a function of how you want to train your tree. Some of the more common ways to train an apple tree are modified central leader and open center. I would suggest you visit the Fruit and Orchards Forum for more information about this. As Ken said, "(fruit tree peeps) do things completely different than the tree peeps (here)."

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:29PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Yes, ken has a good point, as you don't want to prune just because you feel you want to prune. But a young, 6' high tree still has a couple seasons before you start shaping it into a bowl or whatever shape you choose. Better to use the leaves to build roots and caliper first. IMHO.

Dan

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

thanks guys ....

listen mom ...

get yee to an apple orchard this fall .... if not for a few fresh picked apples ...

then to see how the fruit peeps.. MASSACRE a fruit tree.. in the name of production .... to get the nice big apples.. you really have to butcher a tree ...

and while you are there .... find the manager ... if its not to busy .. and talk with him/her.. about the chemical regiment necessary for fruit production ... i gotta tell you one thing ... if you dont spray at least twice.. and maybe 3 times per year ... at a minimum .... you might not an apple you want to bite into ....

its fun to experiment ... so have fun ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:34PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm a firm believer in the routine pruning of fruit trees, but now is NOT the time to even think about it. Wait until late winter to tackle the job.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:30PM
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jocelynpei

If you are trying to produce as many extra large, grade A fully coloured apples as possible to sell, then, yes, you will have to prune hard. If you just want a healthy tree with lots of decent sized apples, it only needs you to remove dead branches and those that cross and rub on each other. We start seedlings every year, and enjoy the surprise when they first bear. We have a lovely 20 something year old one now, loaded with deep red, scab resistant, sweet apples. It has had minimal pruning. Perhaps yours will be the same.

Jocelyn

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Somebody undertaking regular, serious orchard-style pruning would start on the tree when it was small, develop the intended final structure from the early stages.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 5:20PM
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