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Growing Apple Trees from Seed  

Can I plant and grow an Apple tree from Seed
The simple answer is yes, but.......

The 'yes' is because you can plant an apple tree seed and there is probably a 30% chance of it germinating and growing to full size. That means if you plant 10 apple seeds you are likely to get around 3 which grow. You can select the healthiest of the three and let it grow to full size.

The 'but...' is that you will have to wait for 6 to years to find out if it will produce edible apples - the chance of it producing an edible apple is about 5%. The chance of it being even remotely a tasty edible apple is very, very small. It certainly will not resemble the apple from which the pip came. This is because modern apple trees are a cross between two or more varieties. Further, you will not know which apple tree pollinated the one you have.

The second 'but..' is that apple trees grown from seed will end up 30 foot or so high because they are not grown on a dwarfing rootstock. All modern apple trees are grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock and this restricts their height. See the picture below which clearly shows how the apple tree has been grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock.


picture of apple tree main stem

In the picture the rootstock is the dwarfing rootstock which controls the vigour and height of the tree. The scion is joined to it and this part determines which variety of apple you will get.

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Sorry to disappoint. But if you still want to go ahead, the instructions are below:

Chill your apple seeds for at least six weeks in a bag of damp peat in the fridge. Then plant them on a sunny windowsill, in paper cups for the kids to watch. As soon as they outgrow the pot, plant them outside. Water well if conditions are hot or dry. 



Name: Arvin
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 11, 2011 - 11:06 pm
Message: Could some body please tell me what "damp peat" is?

Date posted: September 04, 2011 - 04:33 am
Message: I have a younge apple tree which we planted this year . just recently we have noticed what we can discibe as brown like veins on most of the leaves with small holes at the start of these veins. can you advise many thanks.GEOFF

Name: janet kerr owen
Date posted: August 29, 2011 - 08:18 am
Message: last year and this year my apples have all cracked this year they are small there is also a hard gray coating on the branches two of the trees have only a few apples the other has quite a lot of fruit but the all have cris cross splits can yu advise thanks janet

Name: aduku tenimu
Date posted: August 18, 2011 - 10:14 am
Message: More advice please

Name: Nigel
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 26, 2011 - 01:57 pm
Message: ............

Clive Titley
Your apple problem might be sun-scald.
Although I don't grow Katy, I grow two of its half-sister Discovery - one in full sun and one in partial shade.

The one in full sun suffers from water-soaked appearance and brown flesh streaks characteristic of sun-scorch.

The one in partial shade does not suffer, but the fruits ripen a week or two later and have a slightly more sherbet-fizzy-acid taste and a greater depth of flavour too.

Katy is a variety bred from Worcester Pearmain x James Grieve (both of which prefer a cool, low-rainfall location and are popular in Scotland) - and Katy was bred for its tolerance of short, cool and dull growing seasons in Scandinavia.
With the long, hot growing season this year in the SouthEast of the UK, I'm not surprised that Katy may be struggling.

Name: srinu
Date posted: July 23, 2011 - 05:23 am
Message: i want to plant apple tree in my garden. from where i will got? can you help me? if the available apple in market seeds planted, they grow plants?

Name: clive titley
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 21, 2011 - 04:27 am
Message: I have a pot grown apple,variety KATY.for the past week the apples have dropped from the tree and on cutting open the apples large seactions of the flesh have brown veins running through the past three years I have had no problems with the tree

Name: Nigel
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 13, 2011 - 06:37 pm
Message: Charlotte

I doubt that the tree(s) will cause any harm unless your soil is prone to wide fluctuations in water content and therefore subsidence.
Soils prone to water fluctuation and subsidence might be a problem.

Apple tree roots tend to not be nearly as large or numerous as certain other tree types, such as cherries. Apples are also not particularly high water users.
Most tree roots tend to remain above the level at which major pipes are located - about 1.5-2ft (about 0.5m).
The roots stay mostly in the topsoil because of its higher nutrient content compared to the deeper and relatively infertile subsoil.
Tree roots become rapidly thinner as they move outwards from the base of the trunk. A very rough guide might be that the roots would be about half as thick as the branches directly above.
The actual root structure could vary considerably with the soil type though.

I have seen many trees planted very close to pipes, but none of them appear to have caused the pipe to break and they were checked with a camera.

In my opinion, it is far more likely that an old pipe splits and leaks due to age or ground movement, and this leaking trail of water in the soil attracts the tree roots to grow towards it and then into the crack in the pipe and then along the inside of the pipe.

Name: Liam Staples
Date posted: July 10, 2011 - 05:18 pm
Message: apples?

Name: Charlotte
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 10, 2011 - 03:10 pm
Message: My neighbour has planted apple trees less than one metre from both the main drains in my garden and my home. Will their roots have any impact on the drains and walls? The trees are currently about 10 foot or so tall now.

Name: peter u.u
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 08, 2011 - 11:48 am
Message: I live in Nigeria. I am trying to make an Apple seed to germinate but it's giving me a though time. the ones I have placed in my fridge are like sprouting. I need advice on how to continue

Name: Nigel
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 13, 2011 - 02:46 pm
Message: u.u.

Apple seeds need to be separated from the core of the apple (being attached to the apple flesh inhibits germination).

The seeds then need at least a few weeks of (simulated) winter temperatures, which breaks their dormancy (this dormancy is to protect the seeds from randomly leafing-out in autumn or mid-winter, only to be killed by a hard frost - the chill requirement means that they only leaf-out/germinate *after* a long period of cold followed by a few weeks of warmth).

To simulate winter, put the pips in the fridge or freezer for at least a couple of weeks.
Many shop-bought apples have few seeds (partly due to chemicals sprayed onto them to prevent fruits dropping), and the shop-bought apples can be several months old before you buy them, meaning that less of the seeds remain viable.

Plant the cold-treated pips in damp (but never waterlogged) compost - preferably outdoors - and they should germinate within a few weeks.

To reach a good size in the first year, the seedlings will need plenty of room for their roots to go down and to spread - ideally only one seedling per pot or they will be stunted due to competition with other seedlings.
Seedlings produce a dominant "taproot", which prefers a tall pot rather than wide pot.

By all means start with several pips in a pot (some will not germinate or will die soon after germination), but transplant the seedlings carefully when they're about three inches high. After transplanting, for the first season, give each seedling a pot that is at least five inches wide and eight inches deep.

Good luck!

Name: u.u
Date posted: June 10, 2011 - 07:33 am
Message: i need more ideas on how to
make the seeds

Name: Nigel
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 07, 2011 - 01:25 pm
Message: As a keen fruit grower, I always plant a batch of pips each year, to see what they develop into. Some are shop-bought and some are home-grown.

The biggest problem with apple seedlings is generally that they are grown from pips of shop-bought apples.
These "commercial" apples tend to be quite prone to disease and need spraying to remain healthy. These disease-prone commercial varieties often pass this problem onto their offspring, which results in very sickly seedlings and high casualty rates - especially heavy losses to powdery mildew.
However, if older, rare varieties are used as parents, the disease resistance and tolerance of difficult conditions is often better (the ancient varieties had no special soils or chemicals to help them grow in difficult conditions; they simply had to be tough as old boots to survive).
The downside of old varieties and their offspring is that they tend to produce less attractive fruit and are lighter/erratic cropping.

Name: Anis Yoyo
Date posted: May 04, 2011 - 02:21 am
Message: i would like to know more about your technique plant, may I?

Name: Anis Yoyo
Date posted: May 04, 2011 - 02:18 am
Message: Select several big seeds from the fruit if we want to plant it?

Name: Cindi in California
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 15, 2010 - 01:29 pm
Message: My daughter ate a Red Delicious apple and planted 3 seeds. They all grew into trees. Two of them produce apples and it only took 4 years. The third year the apples were on the small side. The first productive year they were green and on the small side and now they are like a cross between a grannysmith and a yellow delicious. They are very good tasting. They do not look any thing like the original seed producer but are very edible. 2 out 3 produced for me so I call that pretty good odds.

Name: jack
Date posted: October 07, 2010 - 08:56 am
Message: i have grown an apple tree from seed and i have just planted into a big pot it is maybe 10" so hopefully it will grow fruit in years to come :D :D

Name: sarah
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 05, 2010 - 01:22 pm
Message: Hi I have grown an apple tree from seed and has been outsid in a large pot for a whole year now, will this be ok for another year? height about 12-15inch. I don't know what the next step is, did this as an experiment with my young daughter and it worked!
hope you can help

E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 23, 2010 - 06:07 am
Message: Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to know if i can buy some small Apple Tree to Grow in my country.
If you can provide the apple tree to me, I'll very happy.