[NAFEX] apple seed germination

Heron Breen breen at fedcoseeds.com
Fri Oct 22 18:43:14 EDT 2004

Apples do not need 3 months of dormancy. They only require the appropriate chill 
period. This is usually defined as somewhere between 32 and 40 degrees F sometimes 
as low as 25. Dormancy is a behavior which allows trees to survive winter, not a 
requirement. Some plants have a natural dormant cycle, and surprizingly it is 
during summer, when one would expect growth. Apples in the North are actually rated 
usually as having a low chill hour requirement, meaning they only require constant 
temps in the above stated range for 500 hrs, some even less before buds are formed. 
Contrary to belief it is not winter cold which crack buds open but fluctuation in 
temps. So, if the the air began to get springlike immediately following the 500 hr 
chill period, the tree would attempt growth. This is the enviroment which is deadly 
to a tree or at least bud damaging if followed by more very cold weather. Luckily 
it keeps getting colder into deep freeze. Root Temperature generally is the 
signature for the tree to begin this movement toward chill then dormancy. After the 
summer solstice, in fact the day after, soil fungi and microbes experience a 
drastic death because of the gently shifting planet. This slight changes in the 
angle of radiation from the sun may seem imperceptible during an August heat wave, 
but plants roots, which are much like our nervous system and digestive tract in 
one, really speak only that language. Tropical places are difficult if not 
impossible to grow apples because the tree never gets its chill cycle. Luckily, 
breeders have come up with a few. In terms of seed, believe it or not elevation is 
a factor for development, ie air pressure and of course the afore mentioned 
temps. "Dryness" is a term that confuses a lot of people. The apple seed survival 
has as much to do with maintaining a balance of moisture as it does avoiding heat, 
because these elements when out of balance causes fungus and bacteria to grow. 
Fantastically, the rotting of the fruit rarely rots the seed, while germination 
tests frequently do. Fermentation is a key to this. The "germ" and viability of 
seed is a great and amazing look at how this little black object is the collected 
whole of a massive tree. This process still amazes me.

On Fri Oct 22 12:29 , Guru Gardener <master at guru-gardener.com> sent:

>Apple seeds may take 3 months to break dormancy, but many plant seeds,
>including apple, are able to germinate almost immediately if they do not
>become dormant and are in a suitable environment.
>The seeds would normally have entered dormancy when they dried out, but
>you apparently placed them in a suitable environment (the refrigerator)
>before allowing them to do so.
>Goof luck with the experiment!
>Original Message: 
>Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 08:20:13 -0700
>From: "Mark Lee" <markl at nytec.com>
>Subject: [NAFEX] apple seed germination
>My four year old went fruit exploring with me in my neighborhood. 
>found an apple tree that was dropping apples into the street.  He
>me to pick one of the fruits off the tree.  He really liked this
>He was munching away at it, and when he got to the seeds, he
>them.  He gave me the handful of seeds and he said "Make me a
>Daddy.".  I was starting to explain to him that apple trees
>don't come
>true from seed, but then I had another idea.  I told him how apple
>need a cold treatment to start growing, and that apples would take
>to show up on the tree.  He could learn many things from this
>So on October 11 I popped the seeds into the frig, wrapped in a
>paper towel in a sandwich bag.  Last night, October 21, I checked on
>seeds.  After only 10 days in the frig, one of the seeds has
>sprouted!  How could that be?  I thought it took at least 3
>months for
>an apple seed to sprout.  What is the typical time required for
>seeds to sprout in the frig?
>-Mark Lee, Seattle, z8a

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