Stratified apple seeds are turning orange

This is my third winter stratifying apple seeds to plant in the spring.

I use the method of folding dried seeds into a wet paper towel, pressing most of the water out, placing the wrapped seeds in a plastic zip-loc bag, and then putting the bag in my refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

I have had great luck with this method, however I went to check on them today and some of towels have turned orange:

I assume some kind of bacteria is at play here but it could also be outside contamination.

Should I re-wrap them or would it be fine to leave them be? Any guesses as to the cause? Thanks!

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It can only do good or nothing if you rewrap the seeds.


Some type of mold that was already present on the paper towel maybe?

Diluted hydrogen peroxide is always fun to spray on these situations.

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My first thought is do you have iron or manganese in your well water? I do and it can turn things orange from oxidation and of iron and the bacteria that consume it.

I personally do not like using paper towels for long term storage…they just harbor too much stuff like this and it’s harder to get the moisture right. I much prefer a pinch of moist sawdust or pine shavings. It caries a much better natural resistance to decay in my experience.

Also anything I can fall plant I do, to eliminate any unwanted refrigerator storage problems like these :+1:


This is a very likely reason and I am so glad you pointed it out. We do have high iron levels in our water.

We even have some of this exact same color orange build up on our sinks etc and I assumed it was from our copper pipes.

I already rinsed them out, and re-wrapped them, but I think i will try your pine shavings idea in the future. I really like that idea. Thank you for your help on this!


Glad to help, as a side note if you want to get rid of the iron problem we installed one of these 4or 5 years ago and it took care of most of it. it has a specially designed filter just for iron extraction. Only need to change the filters once a year about $250 for all 3 filters. We do shock the well every couple of years to reduce the iron bacteria build up as well.