Growing Stone Fruit from seed?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by rwood, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    I have googled and googled, and all my books have failed to give me an answer, so please...

    How do I grow stone fruits from seed??? :rolleyes:

    I have a few wonderful stone fruit trees in my suburban back yard. A huge apricot, three plum varieties and a nectarine.

    The plan to move to our homesteading dream is well underway and should see us moving in just over 1 year. I have been madly growing heaps of trees from seed, as a hobby, and so that I dont have to buy hundreds of trees for my farm $$$. Oaks, liquidambers, pecans, Pine Nuts, wlanuts and Hazelnuts.

    But I really want to grow stone fruits as I have an abundance of fruit right now (I live in Australia and it was officially the end of summer here yesterday).

    I will hopefully grow the seedlings to use as rootstock to take grafts of the trees in my neighbourhood and yard (and let some go themselves just to see what happens), when I learn how to graft of course......isn't it wonderful how many things there are to learn and discover in the garden...

    Anyway, I live in a mild winter area (25 F is the low over a few months), so I assume some cold storage (stratification) is required. But I need some details.

    Links will be good, but personal experience answers would be great too. Photos would be unreal! Whatever you can add about the process from seed to fruit bearing tree would be great.

    Thanks
    Raphael in Australia
    :cool:
     
  2. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    G'day down there. Or as we say here, Howdy y'all.

    The trouble with starting stone fruit seeds is that you never know what you're going to get. Fruit trees are hybridized so that the seeds usually don't produce tru to type. Take peach trees, you'll likely get a cling variety which may be small or of inferior taste. Or it may have a wonderful taste but still be cling. Most fruit trees are grafted on a sturdier roostock then what the tree would normally grow too. This is why you want to remove any sucker growth. This grow from the rootstock and will not be the variety of fruit that you wanted. If I am not mistaken I think that a nectarine is a hybrid between a peach and plum, which are closely related.
     

  3. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that shorty'smom,

    Howdy,

    The trees in my yard are over 40 years old and I cant tell if they are grafted or not anymore, however I dont think hybridisation was so prevalent back then.

    I intend to use these seedlings as rootstock anyway given the strong nature of the trees in the local conditions.

    I will be grafting selected varieities onto these rootstock seedlings. From my reading so far, rootstock variety selection in stone fruit is not so important as most (older) varieties are generally good stock. Its the choice of grafting variety that is important and hence the grafting, as you say, to guarantee desired fruit qualities.

    Given that most fruit trees are grafted onto root stock these days, someone must know about growing rootstock from seed? Big nurseries usually just get their seeds from canning companies due to ease and volume.

    In case I get no more ideas, heres what Im going to do;

    Clean the seeds.
    Soak the seeds for 48 hours.
    Place in the fridge in a ziplock bag with moist peat for 4 weeks or until germination begins.
    Plant out in individual 2"x2"x5" inch deep seedling pots.
    Cross my fingers.

    Any thoughts on that?

    Please....help....
     
  4. Ragamuffin2004

    Ragamuffin2004 Well-Known Member

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    I've never tried any peaches, plums or apricots from seed. Maybe I'll try it myself if I ever get more than a few peaches from my 2 trees. :) But I checked "The New Seed Starter's Handbook" for you. It doesn't have a lot under "Prunus spp.", but it does suggest that you collect pits from ripe fruits and clean off pulp.

    This is a North American book. It says to plant in August or early September so I guess you'd figure the comparable time for your climate. The book also says you can plant in Spring after stratification. The idea of planting in August or September seems to be to avoid stratification.

    Germination is supposed to be better if the seeds are treated to at least two weeks of warm stratification (20 to 30 degrees C), then 6 months approximately of cool stratification (1 to 4 degrees C).

    HTH,
    Connie
     
  5. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Connie,

    That does help. Seems to go with what I was thinking. As you say the seed raising books dont go into it much and my plan is based on putting together little snippits from here and there.

    The seeds have had the warm stratification (20-30 degrees C) just lying on the ground for the last two weeks, so that should fit in without a problem.

    I seem to have seen a few post in htese forums by people who own nurseries. I would have thought they might know a bit more.

    Thanks again for your effort looking things up for me Connie. I really appreciate it.

    Cheers!
    Raphael
     
  6. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    If the tree puts off suckers from the roots, that might be better to use, since you are using it as rootstock, in case the tree is grafted.
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    The seed from the stone fruit will not always be true to type because the flower could have been fertilized by pollen from another tree. If you want identical fruit from the trees in your yard you will need to use rooted cuttings. These can later be grafted to other rootstock if you prefer. Your local library should have books that cover the subject of grafting.

    BTW, 40 yrs ago there was quite a bit of grafting and hybridizing going on.

    http://www.penpages.psu.edu/penpages_reference/29401/2940174.html

    http://www.freeplants.com/budding_fruit_trees_and_ornamental_plants.htm

    http://cahe.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2000/070800.html

    http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho39/ho39.htm
     
  8. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Thats tops Cyngbaeld,

    Thanks for those links, the first one was exactly what I was after.

    I dont know why I didnt find them googleing, but thanks again for getting them for me.

    Cheers
    Raphael
     
  9. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rapheal only nature and experimental farms reproduce fruit trees sexually (from seed). Most all stone fruit trees are grafted except for the farms where they can spend 10+ years growing a new seedling (and hundreds of its siblings) to see if it is a new Pink Lady apple they can use to graft hundreds of new, identical trees. The seedlings you grow may be good excellent or lousy at either producing fruit or being a rootstock. You may not know until a tree dies on you or gives lousy fruit 15 years from now. I wouldn't bet your permaculture system or family nutrition on any of these seedlings- only do it as an experiment alongside grafted known trees. If you want to save money try rooting cuttings from your tree's root area and grafting on top cuttings from it or other good trees.
     
  10. seaweed

    seaweed Well-Known Member

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    Hey rwood I am in NZ & I am actually a lwood!!! I was gonna say take cuttings. I do remember something in one of my koanga gardens catalogues about how to grow a tree from a peach pip I think. I am sure they said something like keep it in the fridge in wet sand for a while??? There may be something on their website or your local tree crop association may be able to tell you.