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- 23-05-2013, 08:56 PM #1
Where are all the amateur apple breeders?
Given that it's blossom time, is anyone doing any variety crossing with apples, plums or pears?
I've been searching the web for amateur apple breeders in the UK and can't find anything other than the diversity website and references to the late Hugh Ermen. It used to be a popular pastime in the Victorian and Edwardian era. There doesn't seem to be much (any?) interest now. Maybe I'm wrong and there is a thriving group/forum exchanging tips and ideas. I'm on my fourth year of crossing and have become totally addicted. What more can I say.
- 23-05-2013, 09:31 PM #2Funky Cold Ribena
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Try googling Fruit Groups Uk/Wales...
Nottingham Organic Gardeners have Phil Corbett giving a workshop on fruit growing on June the 11th. Can't wait!
- 24-05-2013, 08:28 AM #3Tuber
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Hemel Hempstead, Herts
- Blog Entries
It's a bit late for this year, though maybe I could try crossing 'Cottenhm Seedling' with 'Flower of Kent', my two late-flowerers, which still have some unopened buds on them. Might do that, actually - could be interesting. I was anyway thinking of growing some open-pollenated pips from my apple trees, just to see what came up, and maybe planting the resulting saplings in a few years' time, Johnny-Appleseed-like, in local uncultivated areas such as hedgerows and beside footpaths.
Last edited by StephenH; 24-05-2013 at 08:28 AM.
- 24-05-2013, 10:10 AM #4
I plant a batch of pips most years and let nature take its course, but the growing conditions (low-fertility soil with low rainfall), pests (woolly aphids, slugs) or disease (mildew) usually kill them within a few years.
It seems as if the average modern-era apple seedling is not very robust. The only way to keep them going is to lovingly care for them for several years; defending them from other plant competition and from pests/diseases until the seedlings finally become strong enough to fend for themselves.
If the seedling trees are to fend for themselves in the wild or in a neglected situation, they need to be very vigorous rivalling the MM111 or M25 rootstock vigour.
Unfortunately, any variety which is triploid tends to produce very few viable seeds along with very little viable pollen - making triploids difficult to breed from and effectively ruling-out a large number of the tough-as-old-boots heritage varieties..
- 25-05-2013, 12:31 PM #5Tuber
- Join Date
- Jun 2012
Ditto. However none of them have been any good, apart from one which has very attractive pink blossom, possibly the result of its father being a crab apple in a commercial orchard. For this reason it's probably better to use pips from apples taken from community orchards rather than supermarket varieties, as the pollen parent is more likely to be something interesting.
- 25-05-2013, 09:06 PM #6Tuber
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- Forest of Dean - Gloucestershire
Obviously, if you want to choose specific parents then that pollination would have to be done manually??http://paulieb.blog.com/
Last updated: 31st May 2012.
The more help a man has in his garden, the less it belongs to him.
William M. Davies
- 26-05-2013, 07:28 AM #7Sprouter
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
Apples have to be cross pollinated, so pips will give you a new variety.
I've planted ~30 or so pips from apples I get free at work (most likely from a supermarket), however I'm only doing it as I'm interested in the process but also any spare wood (which they will all be chopped down after 1 or 2 years) will be used for smoking on my BBQ
- 26-05-2013, 08:13 AM #8
In the case of shop-bought apples there's a good chance that the "father" of the pips would be a crab apple, which could influence the fruit produced by the pip if it matured into a tree. Shop-bought apples will have been cold-stored may already have met the chill requirement for the pips - sometimes the apples are so old by the time we buy them off the shelf that the pips are dead.
Shop-bought apples tend to have poor disease resistance, and in my experience, in most cases the seedlings from common shop-bought apples don't usually survive more than a few months after germination before being killed by disease - usually mildew.
The best pips will be from "backyard growers" who have a collection of unusual varieties of trees. The likelihood of crab apple influence will be lower and the less common varieties as parents will offer a greater depth of disease resistance to their offspring.
Last edited by FB.; 26-05-2013 at 08:16 AM..