How to Plant Apple Seeds From an Apple

Overview

Whether you're looking for a fun garden project for little children or an inexpensive way to begin a home orchard, growing apple trees from seeds can be a fun experiment. Apples do not come true from seed, so saving a specific type of apple seed won't mean that your apples will have the same flavor profile, appearance or texture. Seeds require a cold period of dormancy before they germinate. The easiest way to do this is to plant the seeds and then expose them to cold winter weather, allowing nature to do the work.

Step 1

Gather apples in the fall and cut them open. Remove the apple seeds and wash them in cold water.

Step 2

Prepare the soil in a sunny location in your yard for planting apple seeds. Turn the soil over and remove any weeds, grass or debris from the site.

Step 3

Create a long furrow in the soil using your finger or a spade. Make the furrow no more than twice as deep or as wide as the seed. Sow apple seeds in the furrow, leaving four to six inches between seeds. You'll thin them in the spring.

Step 4

Cover the seeds with soil. Pour one to two inches of sand over the newly planted seeds; this helps prevent the soil from crusting over during cold weather.

Step 5

Place wire mesh over the sand, burying the edges of the wire mesh in the soil to create a small half-dome over the seeds. Push the edges of the mesh several inches into the soil. This protects the apple seeds from squirrels, chipmunks and other critters who may otherwise steal them.

Step 6

Leave the apple seeds alone through the winter. Watch the area in the springtime for evidence of seed germination. Remove the wire mesh in April so that seedlings can grow.

Step 7

Water the seedlings in the spring so the soil is moist but not wet. When the seedlings have reached a height of six to eight inches, fertilize the young trees with urea. Sprinkle one to two tbsp. of urea in a long line at least three inches from the seedlings. Water the area to work in the urea.

Step 8

Transplant the young trees to a permanent site when they've reached one foot in height. North Carolina State University recommends placing apple trees 15 to 18 feet apart so mature trees have enough room to spread. Apple trees planted from seed take six years or more to bear fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Apples
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Sand
  • Wire mesh
  • Urea
  • Tablespoon

References

  • Purdue University: Growing Trees from Seed
  • Penn State University: Growing New Fruit Tree Plants from Seed
  • North Carolina State University: Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden
Keywords: apple seed, trees from seed, plant apple seed

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.