English Apples - Trees from Seed

So - for whatever reason, you have found, or possibly own, an apple tree grown from a pip. Do not get excited - there are hundreds of them around the country; all different; none of them recognised varieties. At one time, this was the only way of producing an apple tree. The chances that the tree is worth putting in the National Fruit Collection are about a million to one. To do this you'd have to spend time and cash, too....and even then it would probably be rejected.

Nevertheless, some of these un-named seedlings do produce quite good fruit, often characteristic, and there may be reasons why you would like to preserve the tree or propogate the variety. Perhaps your great-grandmother planted a seed ninety years ago, or you've found an interesting apple growing wild...

I have a small collection of un-named seedlings from various places. In the hedge at work was an odd-shaped good flavoured seedling with a hint of crab apple; very prolific. Found elsewhere was a very late small apple which stays on the tree until the blossom comes, and a small red skinned apple with a coarse texture and red flesh which will probably be good for cider. There's a crab apple from a "Golden Hornet" pip giving fruit about three times the normal size which I use for cider, and two late apples found near Burford and Witney; both keep their fruit well into the New Year. I have others too ....

The way to propogate these is by grafting. The way to preserve new varieties like this is to give trees away to friends. It costs next to nothing in materials and is not difficult. I've put mine mainly on MM106 rootstocks. These will form trees a little smaller than half-standards if unpruned; a lot smaller than that if trained into goblet, cordon or espalier forms.

Talking of grafting, I've found some variation in ease of getting grafts to "take"; for example, Ribston Pippin & Laxton seem to be easy; Allens Everlasting more difficult.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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