The Tree House loves TreeStuff!

Planting seeds?


Captain Zero!
Dec 8, 2013
North Central Montana, bloody cold!
I know this is wildly off topic on an arborist website...........

My favorite tree, the much discussed crab apple tree out front, is sending up shoots. I think.

I read where my tree is probably a "graft"? Normal crab apple is not hardy enough to survive up here apparently. So the tree wizards graft a couple together like Gene Wilder and we have a tree now.

One of the "shoots" has started to produce fruit. What has me puzzled is that the fruit are quite different in size and color to the parent tree. The flowers are pink, and the bloom is much later.

The leaves are serrated where the leaves are smooth on the parent tree. The apples are half again as big and yellowish red.

The fruit matured much slower than the old tree. Maybe because of its young age?

My dad talked about a second crab apple tree in the yard that died a long time ago. It was a larger fruit type.....maybe like what I have in this young tree.

Of course the tree is growing in a terrible spot and will probably need to come out.

Anyway....I saved a handful of over ripe shriveled up apples and want to try and plant the seeds.

How in the hell do you do that? Plant whole apples? Just the seeds?

Start them this winter inside? Wait till spring?

Any guidance would be appreciated.


Patron saint of bore-cutters
Aug 26, 2007
Those shoots might be from the root stock.
That is why they are different.
Put the seeds in the ground now, a lot of tree seeds need to have a winter frost to bring them out of dormancy.


Apr 4, 2015
Mt. Juliet, TN
Can you root a cutting? I root fig cuttings, and find it easiest to do if I wrap a branch with something that holds water like a paper towel wad. That way it can live on the tree while making roots for less of a shock after cutting it off.


Oct 13, 2016
Olympia, WA
Eating-fruit is a combination of rootstock and headstock, and possibly interstock, along with soil, water, etc.

Planting an apple seed will not produce similar fruit. All production fruit trees, to my knowledge, along with lots of other trees are grafted.

Locally, there is a half-red, half-green maple. A rootstock sucker (green maple, more photosynthetically productive) started growing alongside the headstock red maple. The green is currently half the foliage, and will likely dominate more over time.


Jun 2, 2008
Jim, there are about a million different cultivars of crabapple trees. Most that are grown as ornamentals are sterile. But several can be grown from seed. It is a real crap shoot and takes 2 to 3 months of cold so planting now would be appropriate. They can have a terrible propagation rate but might be worth a try. One or several seeds per hole, take your pick, but mark the location.

Another thing you could try, since you already have a youngster that is growing and producing fruit, is to dig down with a shovel, in a circle all around it. Make the circle the size of a root ball you can pick up. The theory here is that sometimes you can severe the roots from the main tree and the now isolated youngster will start forming a root system of its own. Give it another year to form and then transplant it to a better location.
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