Internodes and apple seedling maturity

I know some folks here are growing apple seedlings looking for interesting fruit characteristics.

This Welsh apple breeder has some interesting comments on the transition between a non-bearing juvenile apple seedling and a fruiting seedling apple.

Apparently there need to be more than 70 internodes on the main stem for it to potentially fruit, and 122 for it to surely fruit.

I can’t find facts to back this up, but it is very intriguing if true. He provides some comments on getting to >122 internodes, also.


I only have a few seedling growing but I’m taking a little different approach. If I get enough growth from a first year seedling at this time of the year I’m immediately grafting/label it onto a mature limb. My space is limited so I can see a time that I just won’t have enough room for all the individual seedling.

So what is the timeframe to fruiting doing it your way ?

Commercial breeders, like Markus Kobelt here at Lubera in Switzerland, grow out the seeds for a season, and then bud graft onto Bud 9 or some other rootstock and grow them out in the field. It will bear the third year after the seed was planted, plus he’ll have an idea of the tree’s growth habit and productivity.


At the Univ of Minn they do the same. They grow out seedlings and then bud them over. Its shortens the process.

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