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Hello Guest!
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There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Fruit Tree Planting Question

+6
Judy McConnell
RJARPCGP
CapeCoddess
Marc Iverson
AtlantaMarie
donnainzone5
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Post  donnainzone5 4/6/2014, 1:29 pm

I'm getting ready to plant several dwarf fruit trees.

The cherry tree was planted in the existing soil under my wooden deck last year, and it seems to have survived the winter.

My question is this:  I'd like to have a handyman cut out similar squares in the deck, and I don't know whether it's necessary to line the wood with shower pan liner or the like to prevent mold and rot.  

The existing soil is about 1' beneath the deck.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 4/6/2014, 8:24 pm

Donna, is your decking made of pressure-treated lumber?  If so, then no.
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Post  Marc Iverson 4/6/2014, 9:08 pm

I hope you like sweeping that deck a lot. Very Happy
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/28/2014, 3:22 pm

I had a Honey Crisp apple about a month or so ago and it was so delicious that I decided to plant seeds. I opened it up and there was only one seed in the whole apple. I planted it. It's growing!Fruit Tree Planting Question Img_2016
I'm so happy. Does anyone have any experience with growing apple trees from seed? I read that they don't come true. But how bad can a Honey Crisp be?

CC
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Post  donnainzone5 6/28/2014, 6:17 pm

I was salivating over the prospect of having an Opal apple tree in my yard.

After an extensive Internet search, I called the company in Washington State that propagates the trees.  I was told that they sell only the fruit, not the trees.

Naturally, I asked whether they could be grown from seed, and the answer was "no."

Heh, Heh.... Next time I find this variety in a store, we'll just see.
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Post  RJARPCGP 6/28/2014, 8:47 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:I was salivating over the prospect of having an Opal apple tree in my yard.

After an extensive Internet search, I called the company in Washington State that propagates the trees.  I was told that they sell only the fruit, not the trees.

Naturally, I asked whether they could be grown from seed, and the answer was "no."

Heh, Heh.... Next time I find this variety in a store, we'll just see.
So they're telling folks to shoo like a house fly!
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Post  Judy McConnell 6/29/2014, 8:37 am

Since Honey Crisp is a hybrid, whose parents are good apples - you should get a fine apple - in a few years Smile 

A mention of the parents of HC:
http://www.honeycrisp.org/herit.htm
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/29/2014, 10:44 am

Judy McConnell wrote:Since Honey Crisp is a hybrid, whose parents are good apples - you should get a fine apple - in a few years Smile 

A mention of the parents of HC:
http://www.honeycrisp.org/herit.htm

Thank you for this, Judy! The future looks very very good for this little tree.  I love you  And being a gardener means having the patience to wait. I can do it. I think I'll plant it out once it gets to be about 8 to 10 inches tall. I read that somewhere online. Now to find a space...
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Post  Pollinator 6/29/2014, 4:31 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I had a Honey Crisp apple about a month or so ago and it was so delicious that I decided to plant seeds. I opened it up and there was only one seed in the whole apple. I planted it. It's growing!
I'm so happy. Does anyone have any experience with growing apple trees from seed? I read that they don't come true. But how bad can a Honey Crisp be?
CC


You have several problems with growing Honey Crisp from seed. First off, the result will not be a Honey Crisp, but will be a hybrid of that and whatever was the pollenizer (daddy) of the seed. Since crab apples are widely used as pollenizers in commercial orchards, there's a high chance that it will be a cross between Honey Crisp and a crab apple variety. These crab apples that are used for pollenizers, are not chosen for fruit quality anyway, but for the ability to produce copious amounts of viable pollen.

Even if you do have a cross between two apple varieties, there is a tendency for apple crosses to revert to wilder, and less edible varieties. Now, even the most bitter wild apple will still make good cider, this is what happened with Johnny Appleseed's seedlings that he planted. Some were also later grafted.

A seedling apple is a big tree, often going to 30 or more feet high. Do you want to climb a 30-foot ladder to get your fruit? I certainly don't, not at my age. Grafted trees today are held (by the rootstock) to a decent height, so that they are convenient to spray, to prune, and to pick. Yes, you'll have to spray, although you may be able to get away with an organic spray like "Surround," which forms a physical barrier to insects.

And lastly, a seedling apple is notoriously slow to bear. It may be 8-12 years before you even see a blossom on the seedling tree. Do you want to wait that long to see the outcome of your experiment.

Of course, there's a one-in-a-million chance that you will have produced a new variety that is worthy of propagation - and you'll be a millionaire if you wisely propagate it. There's about a one-in-a-thousand chance that your fruit will be a pretty decent one to eat. But the odds are high that you'll produce something that will greatly disappoint you.

All these are good reasons to invest a few bucks to get a decent tree that you know will produce excellent apples. I highly recommend Cummins Nursery (http://www.cumminsnursery.com/available2015.php), as I've gotten many apple trees from them. They are sturdy trees and almost all of them have borne the year I planted them. This is a small, family-owned nursery, that is built on innovation and outstanding service. (I have no interest in them, except as a happy customer - and I've tried several of the big nurseries and the big box choices as well. I've been disappointed many times, but never by Cummins.)

Don't forget that you have to also have a pollenizer - apple trees are self infertile - and Cummins can help you chose a crab apple, or another suitable variety for your Honey Crisp.

And don't forget also that you need pollinators - bees. If you don't have your ducks in a row; I mean your pollenizers and pollinators, you'll not be able to produce fruit, even if you have astounding success with your seedling.

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Post  RJARPCGP 7/10/2014, 9:24 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I had a Honey Crisp apple about a month or so ago and it was so delicious that I decided to plant seeds. I opened it up and there was only one seed in the whole apple. I planted it. It's growing!Fruit Tree Planting Question Img_2016
I'm so happy. Does anyone have any experience with growing apple trees from seed? I read that they don't come true. But how bad can a Honey Crisp be?

CC

Coincidence. The leaves look like hibiscus leaves. Wink
(heart shaped with toothed edges)
Reminds me that my hibiscus moscheutos has been growing new shoots, since probably late May.

But, something's apparently been munching on the new heart shaped leaves!
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Post  sanderson 7/11/2014, 2:21 am

CC, It's so cute! I don't know anything about apples but it could make a cute mini shade tree someday even if it doesn't produce fruit.
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Post  NanSFG 7/10/2015, 3:03 pm

I have 2 papaya trees and one local cherry tree that I started from seed in 3" pots.  They are now ready to transplant into larger containers.   If I plant them in the ground they will be in compacted clay.  I would like to keep the trees as container trees.  Do I repot them in Mel's Mix or use something else?
Any comments are welcome.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/10/2015, 4:48 pm

I've had good results with straight Mel's Mix in containers, but haven't grown any trees, just veggies and flowers.

Many people recommend using a potting soil that has less organic material in it than MM does. I have some ideas why, but will defer to others who may know for sure.
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Post  donnainzone5 7/10/2015, 6:07 pm

To confuse fruit tree planting matters further, My planting booklet from a major vendor cautioned against planting them in ANY potting mix.

And local "experts" have suggested using native soil, with just a bit of compost added.  

Would Mel know?
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/10/2015, 6:56 pm

Well, planting them and keeping them in containers is so different, too.

In our master gardener's class last year, our textbook and our lecturers said that for trees that are planted out in the ground, you want to slowly blend a mixture of the local soil with the growing medium a tree comes in, because a quick transition between soils, even into good soil, can cause root circling. In a pot, you want a uniform soil anyway, so it's a different problem.

It's also a different problem depending how comfortable you are with using chemical fertilizers. Those content to use them will sometimes suggest using virtually no organic material, because they care about water retention and breathability, but brush off concerns about soil nutrients. They may wind up suggesting the use of virtually "dead" growing mediums.
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Post  sanderson 7/10/2015, 8:30 pm

This is a really good question. Just looking at the physical aspect, a "dead" mixture will not shrink like a mixture with compost will. So put the compost on the top (away from the trunk) and water to provide a slow release of nutrients?? I have a potted rose bush that I put compost on the top for the first time this year. It has really grown and it healthier and greener with more blossoms than ever before. Going to watch this topic.

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Post  Marc Iverson 7/11/2015, 12:21 am

I've also read that you don't want to promote too much green growth too soon after transplant, as the plant needs to work on establishing its roots as first priority. So that might be part of the rationale behind using a nutrient-poor planting mix when transplanting into containers.

Your idea about keeping soil volume more consistent by using less rich soil might be part of the idea behind using nutrient-poor potting soil for transplants too.

One thing about MM is that it is subject to heaving if it dries out too much and then you have to replenish its water content. Then again, other coir-rich and peat-rich nutrient-poor growing mediums that are so often recommended for containers are subject to the same heaving, if not more. Heaving causes damage to fine root hairs that can set a plant back.

There are so many conflicting and confounding variables that sometimes I think some of these ideas must be along the lines of belief or other witch-doctory rather than hard and fast knowledge, the same way some folks seem to have adopted coir almost as a religion.
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Post  Dadoo 7/11/2015, 2:52 pm

I planted an apricot start in the spring of 2012. I used a four by four foot by one foot high bed. The frame is built with one inch PVC and the entire box is wrapped with weed barrier so in effect, I have a large fabric pot. 

On the bottom of the container I have a layer of empty pop cans with half a dozen holes punched in each of them. The cans are stuffed in old CLEAN socks. The cans allow quick flow through during heavy rain but allow some air at the root level. Mel's mix fills the entire container. 

The tree set fruit this year and last. 

I will be trying this system with a Yellow apple and a Gala apple tree I purchased on clearance at Walmart this week.

Sooo, to make a short story long, I believe that trees can be grown with Mel's mix and have success.

I will try to follow up in twenty years to give a longer term report on my success.

Keep on growing.
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