I'd like to try growing apple trees on my property in southcentral
Ontario. Conditions are somewhat far from ideal with very shallow
topsoil, moderate to poor drainage, and the shorter Canadian growing
season. Thankfully there are a surprising variety of apple trees
growing in close proximity (but not close enough to harvest) that I
guess would best be described as "escaped" because while none of them
are crabapples and all produce edible fruit none have been tended--or
are even close to each other--in decades if not longer.
I understand that planting seeds will almost guarantee that the new
tree produces different apples from the parent--I'm willing to try
grafting--but will the rootstock be the same? One of the trees that
I'd like to emulate is of an appropriate size, produces a large crop
but has partially blown down and is sending up suckers from the
exposed part of the stump (while the rest still supports the seemingly
vital, but horizontal tree), can these be cut and planted? Are branch
cuttings a better option? I know that the usual advice is to buy
rootstock, plant it and then graft on it but with my less than perfect
conditions I'd rather make use of the genetic material that is
obviously thriving nearby instead of spending years finding the right
My interest is definitely recreational in nature and I'd be quite
happy with a small crop of cider apples or borderline eaters and I'm
in no hurry. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
The seeds of apples will not reproduce from seeds. It's a genetic thing.
Yes, grafting is the only way to get predictable results. It matters not
rootstock you graft onto as concerns the resultant variety of apple.
will faithfully reproduce the apple you have grafted onto any acceptable
Are you trying to grow rootstocks, or propagate a certain variety
of apple? If you are trying to just copy the tree's rootstock, you can
use these suckers from the stump to grow them.
You will have to wait until your rootstock is developed, whereas buying
rootstock will be immediately available for grafting. If you feel that
an existing tree works better for you, go ahead and use them.
I think you have answered you own question, although I wonder why you
bother putting work into growing borderline fruit. I'm still not sure if
are intending to just grow apples from these rootstocks without grafting.
Apples that come out of rootstocks are often not even eatable or useful for
cider. Many early farmers did little grafting, but the results were less
They had no choice, or were ignorant about grafting. Grafting is not
and I would advice you to learn how to do it.
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