Have you ever thought about growing your own apple tree? I never thought about it until we moved back to the woods and I wanted to get deer in our yard. I had no idea that it could be as easy as growing apple trees from apple seeds from your apples.
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Growing Apple Trees from Seeds
I'm not sure where we got the idea from but one day while making apple crisp our kids asked if we could grow apple seeds from the seeds in our apples.
After a bit of reading, I figured why not try. I didn't think anything would come from them but I was wrong.
How to Start Apple Seeds
I do not know what type of apples we used, they were “unperfect” apples sold from our local store for baking.
You want to let your apple seeds dry out for a couple of days after removing them from the apples. Toss aside any seeds that have been cut or crushed.
The next step is getting the seeds started. Layout a piece of a paper towel and spread the seeds out, you don't want them to be touching. Fold the paper towel over the seeds, or lay another piece of paper towel over the seeds. Spray the paper towel with water to soak through both layers of the paper towel.
Place the paper towel and seeds into a Ziploc bag, it doesn't hurt to spray the inside of the bag as well once your seeds are in there if the paper isn't wet. You don't want it dripping, but you want it to be moist and stay that way.
Write the date on the bag. Maybe even what is in the bag so when you come across the bag later on and forget what it was.
Now into the fridge goes your bag of apple seeds. You want to stimulate old stratification to break dormancy. The seeds need to be kept under moist refrigeration for at least 6 weeks before they're planted.
Check your seeds to see what has happened. You should find that your seeds have started to sprout. Those seeds are the ones that you are going to transplant into soil.
Apple seeds have a low germination rate. We had about 30 seeds sprout, and from those seeds, we have 6 little apple trees despite doing the same thing with each seed.
How or When to Plan Your Trees
Your tree will have an easier time getting established if you plant it in the spring. Dig a hole twice as wide as and no deeper than the tree's container. Gently tease the roots on the edge of the root ball then place your tree's root ball in the center of the hole.
You may need to cage in your tree to protect it from animals or the weather.
How Long Before You Get Fruit
This is where knowing your kind of apples is going to make a difference. Standard or full-sized trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and can take six years to bear their first fruit. Semi-dwarf and dwarf apple trees can grow from 6 to 20 feet tall and produce full-sized apples in about three years.
Trees that are grown in nurseries can take longer to grow compared to those that you are growing if you are making sure to switch out the pots, not letting them get root bound.