How to propagate fruit crops by seeds?

Is it possible to grow a cultivated tree from a bone (seed)? If a varietal tree is considered cultivated, which is obtained only by vegetative means, as a rule, by grafting, then it is impossible. If you have patience and are willing to experiment, you can grow a plant from a seedling that will produce a good harvest of high quality fruits.

Seed propagation of fruit crops will be discussed in our material. Seedlings often outperform grafted varietal plants in terms of viability, including winter hardiness, are more durable, resistant to diseases and pests, and better adapt to various extreme environmental factors.

"Pitfalls" of seed propagation of fruit crops

In industrial horticulture, propagation by sowing seeds is mainly used in the cultivation of seed rootstocks. Varietal plants with predetermined characteristics and properties can be obtained exclusively by vegetative means (cuttings, layering, grafting). As a result of seed reproduction, we get a hybrid offspring that is distinguished by polymorphism (a variety of traits and properties).

This is facilitated by cross-pollination of fruit crops, as a result of which seedlings have characteristics of both the mother plant (from which the seeds were collected) and the paternal plant (pollinator). Also, most seedlings show features of wild ancestors - thorns, small fruits, etc.

When is the best time to use seed propagation?

In modern fruit growing, seed propagation is used in the following cases:
  1. For the purpose of growing seed rootstocks Most of the industrial rootstocks of stone fruit crops in Ukraine today are obtained from seeds. Cherries and sweet cherries are grafted on seedlings of Magaleb cherries, wild cherries, undersized sour cherries. Representatives of the so-called plum group (cherry plum, plum, apricot, peach) are grown on seedlings of wild cherry plum, half-cultivation of apricot (poles), low-growing plum, frost-resistant peach, etc. Apple and pear seed rootstocks have recently been used less and less.
  2. In the process of breeding work When the breeder grows seedlings from seeds obtained as a result of targeted crosses. Its task is to identify the best seedlings according to a complex of economically valuable traits. For further more detailed study, the selected material is propagated vegetatively.
  3. When growing planting material for crops whose vegetative propagation is poor, these include the walnut. From 6 to 10 million walnut trees of seed origin grow in Ukraine. Most of them produce fruits of poor quality. At the same time, walnut is one of our most important export crops. Some farms are trying to establish the cultivation of grafted planting material by winter grafting, but so far it has not been possible to achieve a survival rate above 50%.
  4. In the process of introduction and acclimatization of southern types of fruit crops, both botanical gardens and individual amateur gardeners are engaged in similar work. As positive examples, one can cite the edible chestnut, jujube, pawpaw, persimmon, fig and some other heat-loving crops, which can now be found even in the gardens of the northern regions of Ukraine. However, in hobby gardening, growing trees from seeds often pays off.

When is seed propagation justified?

Seed propagation is expedient at a significant (not less than 60%) level of dominance of maternal traits in seed offspring. This applies to crops such as walnut, hazelnut (hazelnut), peach, apricot. It has long been noticed that a peach or apricot grown from a stone very often forms fruits of no worse quality than those from which the seeds were taken.

In addition, apricot and peach are relatively thermophilic crops. Therefore, in the process of seed propagation, we can get more viable plants compared to grafted ones. If seedlings of most forms of walnut begin to bear fruit only in the 7-15th year, then in peach the first fruits can be tasted already in the 3rd year after sowing the seeds, in apricot - in the 4th.

Seedlings of the early-growing walnut (Ideal variety type) often bloom in the year of sowing, and the first fruits can be obtained in the 2-3rd year. After the first few harvests, plants are left that have a complex of valuable traits - large size and good taste of fruits, productivity, disease resistance, winter hardiness. Seedlings that do not live up to expectations are rejected or re-grafted with varietal material.

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