Propagating Apple Trees


“Here embryo apples in tough rinds compressed, Are folded in beauty, on each floret’s breast. The sunshine of April and breath of sweet May, Shall lift up the plumule and spread out the spray.”

THE apple is propagated by planting the seeds, by grafting, and by inoculating, or budding; and it may be propagated by cuttings and layers. The core of an apple is frequently thrown aside, where a seed sometimes finds a mellow seed-bed; and the next season a young tree appears. Birds frequently drop apple-seeds in a bed of fine mould, where the embryo is preserved, until circumstances favor germination. Young apple-trees frequently spring from the seed in the remains of decayed apples.

Apple and pear seeds are usually collected in autumn, separated from the pomace, mingled with moist sand, and kept in a cellar till the following spring, when they are planted in drills as one plants beet-seed, in a well-prepared seed-bed. In some instances, the pomace is scattered in drills, and covered with fine and mellow soil, in late autumn. When large quantities of young trees are required, the seeds are sometimes sown broadcast like grain, and harrowed in; and in many instances the seeds are put in with grain drills, about as deep as seed-wheat and barley are covered say two inches deep in a mellow seed-bed. We have in mind a friend in Illinois, who wrote that he would drill in forty bushels of apple-seeds in the spring of 1870, distributing that quantity over eighteen acres.

As there is a tough covering on the outside of apple and pear seeds, they will germinate more readily if they can be planted in autumn, or early in the spring, so that they may be frozen and thawed two or three times before the growing season has commenced. And yet, apple-seeds will germinate without having been frozen, provided they are not allowed to become dry after being separated from the core. If seeds be planted as soon as they are taken from the core, they will often germinate, and appear in the seed-leaf in eight to twenty days, according to the moisture and warmth of the seed-bed. We have taken seeds from an apple, planted them in a mellow-bed, in June, some of which germinated immediately, and others remained in the ground till the following spring. Some pomologists contend that apple seeds, and seeds of other fruits, should be buried in the fruit. But as there is usually a chance to select the best kernels if the cores are first dissected, which is quite as important as to choose the most desirable ears of Indian corn for seed, when this is done, the fruit should be cut in quarters, the inferior kernels separated, one or two of the largest and plumpest returned to the core, and the entire apple buried about two inches deep in a mellow seed-bed.