Apple Tree From Seed

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Doesn't quite work that way -- apples have some interesting genetic instabilities that make even grafting known cultivars less than a sure bet. And seed of any open pollinated, sexually reproduced seed (as opposed to apomictically produced seeds, as dandelions often do) is going to produce offspring different from their parents. (Just like human kids, while they resemble their parents, aren't exact duplicates. And one sibling is not identical to another.)
It's only with some fairly intensive breeding techniques (e.g. linebreeding, back-crosses) that we've been able to produce the uniform fields of plants currently in favor with mechanized agriculture.
John Chapman certainly wasn't toting around bags of grafted apple trees when he decided to spread apple seeds around on his journeys. Some of the seedlings that came up produced very nice apples. Some didn't. It's the same result I'd expect of the OP's little experiment... they may get some nicely flavored apples from the seedlings, and then again, they might get spitters. But whatever they get, it'll be interesting for the kids if the parents help them interpret what they're seeing and experiencing.
someone earlier claimed that the OP would get "crab apples" from the seedlings... this is pretty unlikely, as most of the eating apples are diploids, and most of the crabapples are polyploid (have several sets of chromosomes, rather than simple pairs.)
At any rate, I think kids (and grownups, too, from the sounds of things here!) should try things like growing seeds of an open-pollinated, sexually reproducing crop, just to see some of the hidden genetic variation uncovered... it's really pretty amazing. I also wish I could get more people involved in such activities as comparison tastings of fruits -- or as my husband said after I got him to try about 50 cultivars of apple in a day, "Gee, I wish I'd known before now that there were more apples than Delicious and Jonathan." (He has now found he also likes tomatoes, pears, sweet corn and I'm working on getting him off iceberg lettuce. <g>)
Save some seed of something or other... tomatoes, dwarf marigolds, impatiens, lettuce... grow 'em out and see what you get. It's fun.
Kay
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I would change that to very few. Since there was no scientific tracking of his trees, we can only surmise the results.

Doubt it very much.

I would not put a kid into a statistically losing project when there are much better related things, like grafting.

Problem here is that this will be a standard tree, which will take the kid at least 7 years to taste their first apple.

For those plants, I agree.
Sherwin D.

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Kay Lancaster wrote:

Naturally, only the successful chance seedlings were passed down through the years. The thousands, or perhaps millions of them that were just awful are not around anymore. Statistically, the successful chance seedling is a rarity. I personally would not put a lot of time and care into an apple tree with those kinds of odds.

There are a few things I have grown that I'm glad no one knows about. Exactly how did you grow this Kay pear? Was it a sport of some well known pear, a seedling of some known pear, or a complete chance seedling?

Or, they came from a known variety tree that lost it's identity somewhere along it's lifetime. Speaking of modern genetically produced apples, have you tasted some of the newer ones like Cameo, Honeycrisp, Rubinette, etc., etc. If you look in the Fruit, Nut, and Berry Inventory book of available varieties, you will find the chance seedlings there, but only a small percentage of the total offerings. I say, leave it up to the experts to do the experimenting, when there are so many good apples of known parentage out there. Encouraging a kid to put his energies into a losing venture is not a good introduction to gardening.
Sherwin D.

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lousy tasting

they're
through the

I think that many chance seedlings produce fruit that is not only edible but quite good.
Each year we visit a lot of chance seedling trees and eat and harvest the fruit. If we can beat the birds to them, most are good to very good and those that aren't are fine for cooking. These trees grow along a very quiet country road and we are sure have grown from apple cores thrown from passing cars. There must be at least 100 of these trees and we watch and check with interest each year.
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wrote:

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wrote:

Are you saying that natural selection through the history of the apple has led to a fruit that is desired by birds/animals, and a more desirable apple for the propagation vector to eat spreads the seed better than apples that are bitter and tasteless?
Who woulda thunk...

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hob wrote:

Good is a relative term. How do they compare with a known heritage or well engineered apple like a Honeycrisp?

There are a lot of vegetables and fruit that pigs eat but I wouldn't find them tasty. You can't compare a bird's taste buds to a human. Sometimes, they will eat an apple just to get the moisture out of it.
Johnny Appleseed spread a lot of seeds in his lifetime, but most of them produced apples that were not very tasty, and were used instead for cider or mash to feed the animals. In those days, for most pioneers it was a question of survival, not enhancing their palette.
Sherwin D.

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Well, what are you waiting for. You have made a marvelous discovery. Go ahead and patent these marvelous apples and you can make bushel's of money.
Farm1 wrote:

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So are the thousands of older cultivars that didn't withstand shipping or long storage, or weren't "pretty enough" in someone's eyes, or just didn't get recognized by a commercial nursery. And they were good apples, some much better than the half dozen or so cultivars you get in most US grocery stores today.

A cross between an ornamental pear of unknown parentage and the Bosc in my grandparents' backyard. Grandpa helped me make it (I was all of 4 or 5 at the time), and then we grew out the seeds. And it wasn't a bad pear at all. Finally succumbed to fireblight many years later.

Doubt that... old roads, old fencelines, and most of them don't look anything like currently favored cultivars.

Sure. Have you tasted some of the "wild" apples being currently imported for germplasm use? Some really good stuff there.
If you

Yes, because people who actually bother to name cultivars are likely to be working with a subset of plants that have something they're trying to improve upon. But chance seedlings play a part, too.... go back in the parentage and you'll find a lot of "unnamed seedling x cox's orange pippin" sorts of entries.
I

And I'd argue, as an old educator, that learning that everything doesn't work the way you think it might is a much more important lesson (in gardening, in life, in science) than success at growing a "kit tree".
Doesn't take that much effort to grow a seedling tree to bearing size, if they can make it through the winter in a planter (a relatively hostile environment.) Back to the OP's question... insulate that planter, cuddle it up against the house, and make sure it doesn't dry out or have standing water in it this winter. Then enjoy what you get with your kids.
Me? I'm a retired botanist. My grandfather, who originally got me interested in gardening, used to take me on day trips for such things as hunting for the stump of the first 'Delicious' apple tree, or over to look at the crab apple test orchard a friend ran. Learning to look and examine and ask questions and perservere are good life lessons you can learn from a little amateur plant breeding, imo.
Kay
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Kay Lancaster wrote:

First of all, I grow a goodly number of these heritage apples, so you obviously missed my point.

Not sure which ones you are suggesting. Where can I find out more about them?

No arguement there. However, I just want to point out that the number of successes of chance seedlings is not that great. The Cox's Orange Pippen (which I grew until it died last year) has been bred into many other varieties, of which I still have it as part of my Freyberg apple.

OK. What is more rewarding? Sticking a seed into the ground, or grafting a tree? I think the seed planting sounds more like a 'kit'.

That's the point. What attachment can you have to something that can be grown with about the same effort as a carrot.

In the real cold climates, I would bury the pot for added protection.
Sherwin D.

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maybe -
1) The seed is a DNA combination of the top portion of the tree holding your apple, and the DNA of another tree somewhere nearby - and if it is a commercially grown apple, it was likely one of the nearby trees was in the same orchard.
2) many apple tops are grafted onto rootstocks, and your variety may have a weak disease susceptible root, or the variety has a small root that doesn't support a full tree of that type of apple without pinching.
3) I believe most apples are hardy in the DC area - so it should grow.
4) My father, a county agent, often said that you could never tell what kind of apple you were going to get from an apple seed (Something about the fruit not being the same from a seed as from a parent, even when the two parents are of the same variety.)
so plant it, and see what happens.
If it survives the rabbits, the deer, the kids, poor soil and planting, and the pollution, it will probably grow.
fwiw

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