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Thread: How long does it take from fruit trees to go from seed to bearing fruit?

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    FB.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangepippin View Post
    4m-5m would be good going for a seedling apple tree (itís not often you see wild apple trees larger than that, and most tend to grow as bushes rather than trees).
    Hi Richard.
    It's good to see you here.

    Funny you should mention apple "bushes", because only the other day I was arguing with someone that apples are actually bushes which we prune into various shapes - including small trees. Apples -even quite vigorous ones - often are comparable in size to hazels, hawthorns, wild roses, buddleias and lilacs. Only if/when an apple tree is left to do its own thing for a long time will it become a tree. A friend has a large old Bramley - I'd estimate 100+ years old and it is a genuine tree around 20ft height and 40ft spread.
    However, there is considerable bare wood inside the canopy and it could easily crop just as heavily if it was half the size.
    But it's a magnificent specimen tree and we enjoy garden parties underneath it in summer (the owners put up a disclaimer warning about risk of injuries due to falling apples ).

    Many people fret about how big their apple "tree" will get, yet they happily plant other trees which will grow far faster and will be far larger when mature.
    I also commented that the phobia of over-large apple trees is generally exagerated, while much more vigorous trees are not considered before planting.

    On a curious note, though, in my area the seedling trees (what few there are) only tend to be quite large ones; I don't think that anything less than 4m mature size actually has enough vigour to survive the common summer droughts (this year excepted*). I suspect this is due to difficult climate which strongly selects for only the most vigorous varieties and disease-resistant (perhaps triploids). Certainly, in my current soil, triploids seem to have better vigour and better disease resistance.

    Regards,
    Nigel
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    Nynke is offline Germinator
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    Hi Nigel,

    Is it possible and wise to grow appletrees from seed, and after two years selection on growth and leafs, graft the trees on m26 - rootstocks, so you will have fruits after another three years?
    Or do the treebranches need more maturing?

    Did you also notice, often the apples from very young trees are different from the apples you will get after 20 years?

    I know Hugh Ermen was an enthousiastic propagator from seed. Did he ever documented his experiences?

    (I collected most of his own cultivars, but sadly the mouses had a special preference for some of those trees....)

    Kind Regards,

    Nynke (the Netherlands)

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    yummersetter is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuncanM View Post
    I don't want to hijack this thread too much, but it's semi-related to the subject and advice given by FB.

    If I were to grow apple trees purely for firewood / smoking (therefore wanting as much mass of wood as possible as quickly as possible) should I care about the type?

    I planted standard apples, including triploids, grafted onto m25, in 1990-1992 and the trunks are now, at a guess, 12-20 inches diameter with 6ft clear stems. I reckon they'd only give me a few days firewood each. We do have a good supply of applewood, but we take that from the really old trees, over 50 years old - either if they die and fall over, or by taking out huge branches.
    Your most likely source of large amounts of fruit wood would be from an old established orchard that's being bulldozed, I'm afraid. Of my trees, Blenheim and Ribston are the largest of that 1990s planting. It would be sad to grow trees which give such good fruit and use them for fuel before their lifespan is over, though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nynke View Post
    Is it possible and wise to grow appletrees from seed, and after two years selection on growth and leafs, graft the trees on m26 - rootstocks, so you will have fruits after another three years?
    Or do the treebranches need more maturing?
    If you graft wood of a spur-bearer in early spring 2014, it will form a maiden whip during summer 2014. In summer 2015 some of the maiden whip's side buds will form into fruit spurs. In 2016 those spurs will flower and fruit. Plants in shadier places may be slower to fruit, or will produce less fruit spurs.
    If the tree is hard-winter-pruned, or if the growing conditions are too fertile, the tree will be slower to start cropping since both act to suppress fruit bud formation.
    Light summer pruning can encourage fruiting.

    If you took a mature or semi-mature tree and used it as a framework for grafting many of its branches with scions of the trial variety, you'd quickly have a lot of fruit for tasting, and a lot of twigs and leaves to start evaluating disease resistance.
    Last edited by FB.; 17-06-2013 at 09:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yummersetter View Post
    m25, in 1990-1992 and the trunks are now, at a guess, 12-20 inches diameter
    Trees on M2, MM111 and M25, planted as full standards (including some John Downie crabs) in this area around the same time, only have trunks about half that diameter - about six inches (15cm). Canopy spread averages about 10ft (3m).
    The big, old Bramleys which are over 50 years old have trunks about 1ft (30cm) diameter and typical canopies about 16ft (5m).
    .

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    DuncanM is offline Sprouter
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    Quote Originally Posted by yummersetter View Post
    I planted standard apples, including triploids, grafted onto m25, in 1990-1992 and the trunks are now, at a guess, 12-20 inches diameter with 6ft clear stems. I reckon they'd only give me a few days firewood each. We do have a good supply of applewood, but we take that from the really old trees, over 50 years old - either if they die and fall over, or by taking out huge branches.
    Your most likely source of large amounts of fruit wood would be from an old established orchard that's being bulldozed, I'm afraid. Of my trees, Blenheim and Ribston are the largest of that 1990s planting. It would be sad to grow trees which give such good fruit and use them for fuel before their lifespan is over, though
    My main use would be for smoking foods, as such relatively small quantities would go a long long way. I would on occasion use a log or two to scent fires (either my wood fired oven) or the chimnea. It was semi-hypothetical, as at the minute I don't have enough land to do what I hope. But as FB has suggested when land isn't an issue, I'll have multiple sections, one of which will be coppiced apple and cherry trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nynke View Post
    Is it possible and wise to grow appletrees from seed, and after two years selection on growth and leafs, graft the trees on m26 - rootstocks, so you will have fruits after another three years?
    Or do the treebranches need more maturing?
    Hi Nynke,
    Check out the breeding methods used by International Fruit Obtention (IFO) in France. Here is a quote from a report summarising their approach to apple breeding:-
    "....three to five thousand seedlings are started in the greenhouses every winter and then subjected to intensive care with regard to light, nutients and water. Seedlings reach 2 meters height, or about 70 leaf internodes, by early September. When they pass 70 internodes of growth extension they leave juvenility behind and additional growth is capable of flower bud initiation. mature buds are then inserted into the base of M9 rootstocks. By late winter these trees are cut back and grown during year two into field ready finished trees that will be fruiting in years 3, 4 and 5 in a standard commercial M9 format."

    This is a very quick time scale. From what I've read in the scientific literature, the actual transition points in terms of extension growth internodes are:- juvenile to adult vegetative at node 77 and from adult vegetative to adult reproductive at node 122.

    I have done a few controlled apple variety crosses over the last three years. My experience is as follows:- Pips/seeds germinate in February or March and after the first growing season in an outdoor nursery bed have usually only achieved 40-50 internodes of growth. At the end of the second year about 20% have achieved >70 internodes and look like unfeathered maidens (0.5- 1.5 m height). At this point, I decided not to prune the single leader back, in the hope that this would encourage further rapid extension growth during the third year, and production of many more nodes. Unfortunately, presumably partly as a result of this, most of the two year old seedlings have produced huge numbers of lateral shoots along the entire length of the main shoot. I've pinched most of these out, but they have reduced the vigour of the main shoot's extension growth. I'm not planning to graft any of these seedlings, although I might change my mind. However, I hope that most will pass through the 77 node transition during their third year and that some will flower in their fourth year.
    The photo below shows some seedlings at the end of their second year's growth.
    How long does it take from fruit trees to go from seed to bearing fruit?-seedlings-nursery-bed-18-months-old.jpg
    Last edited by boundtothesoil; 18-06-2013 at 10:01 AM.
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    Nynke is offline Germinator
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    Default from seedling to m9?

    Quote Originally Posted by boundtothesoil View Post
    Hi Nynke,
    Check out the breeding methods used by International Fruit Obtention (IFO) in France. Here is a quote from a report summarising their approach to apple breeding:-
    "....three to five thousand seedlings are started in the greenhouses every winter and then subjected to intensive care with regard to light, nutients and water. Seedlings reach 2 meters height, or about 70 leaf internodes, by early September. When they pass 70 internodes of growth extension they leave juvenility behind and additional growth is capable of flower bud initiation. mature buds are then inserted into the base of M9 rootstocks. By late winter these trees are cut back and grown during year two into field ready finished trees that will be fruiting in years 3, 4 and 5 in a standard commercial M9 format."

    Attachment 36975
    I'm confused, at which moment do you take scions en graft them on m9?
    And what do you do with the seedlings?

    What are your experiences with the first fruits of a new grafted tree? Sometimes they seem to be different from the fruit from a adult tree

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