apple tree growth stages

Apple Tree Growth Stages: How Does It Grow?

An apple tree produces delicious fruits but one cool thing to see is how this tree grows and how the fruits are formed. Most apple trees are grown through grafting because it is one of the fastest ways to harvest apples. But how will an apple tree grow if it is going to grow from seed? So how does an apple tree grow?

Apple Tree Growth Stages

Stage 1. Seed

Most apple fruits have a few seeds inside and it is rare to seed seedless apples. The seeds of the apple are small and brown to black and they are located commonly in the center of the fruit. Getting the seeds in the fruit can be done by slicing it in half.

There are many varieties of apples and you can use any of those apples to get seeds. Getting high-quality apple seeds will give you a good chance of germinating them. Once the seeds are sown, they will grow roots and tiny leaves.

Stage 2. Germination

In order for apple seeds to germinate, they need a chilling time. If you are going to grow them outdoors, plant the seeds in the fall. In that way, when winter comes they will be exposed to cool weather which is needed by them to sprout.

If you are going to grow apple seeds indoors, prepare a paper towel, a plastic bag, and apple seeds. Soak apple seeds in water, and moisten the paper towel just a bit.

Then place the seeds one by one with spacing. Then fold the paper towel just a few times and place it in the plastic bag. Close the plastic bag but leave a small opening. 

With the right condition, the apple seeds will germinate in about 2-3 months (60-90 days). A tiny root and tiny leaves will grow out from the seed. There are times that not all seeds will germinate and try to germinate as many apple seeds so that if some seeds will not sprout there will be some seeds that will.

When the apple seeds have germinated you can start planting them in a container.

Stage 3. Seedling

Once the seed has been germinated in a few weeks or months it will become a seedling. An apple seedling is still small but it has a few leaves, some roots, a thin stem, and a few small branches.

During this period the apple seedling needs more water, nutrients, and sunlight. Those are the needs of an apple seedling for it to grow faster and improve its growth. Enough water will help it become established and they must receive the right amount of water regularly.

In the early years, it will just grow short but after some time it grows taller. With enough sunlight and enough nutrients, the apple seedling will grow fast and become more established.

Stage 4. Vegetative Growth

During vegetative growth, an apple tree grows thicker stems, more leaves, more roots, and more long branches. It is the time when the apple tree grows bigger than before. Since it grows much bigger, the apple tree needs more nutrients, water, and sunlight.

The apple tree must get its needs to improve its growth and become more established and make it prepared to grow flowers and fruits. It will continue to grow taller and bigger. An apple tree grown from seed will take time to fruit around 7 to 10 years.

Stage 5. Budding

Once the apple tree becomes more mature it will start growing buds. The buds will grow first and they will turn into flowers. There are times that buds don’t turn into flowers. Some buds turn into leaves, and others grow as a branch.

But once flower buds are growing on the apple tree, it is a sign that the tree will be able to grow flowers the next. When flower buds appear it is a sign telling that the apple tree is already mature.

Stage 6. Flowering And Pollination

After a few weeks or months, those flower buds will turn into flowers. The apple tree blooms from early spring until late summer. The flowers will slowly grow on the tree and increase in size and open.

Many apple trees are not self-pollinating. They cannot pollinate themselves even if they have male and female flowers. It is self-incompatible and they need the help of another variety.

Cross-pollination is needed by most apple trees in order for them to grow apples. If you have one apple tree it will not grow fruits even if you do hand pollination. Two trees are needed for apples to grow on the tree.

When those trees flower, the wind can help pollinate but commonly pollinators like bees are really helpful in pollinating flowers.

Stage 7. Fruiting

When the apple tree flowers are pollinated, fruits will grow on the tree. The fruits are small in the early days but they continue to grow and increase in size as time goes by.

After a few months of growing those apples will mature and start to ripen. You can harvest them once they are ready to be picked. There are many varieties of apples and some of them are ripening a little bit differently in terms of color.

Those apples will mature and will start growing seeds. The apple seed can be used to grow a new tree again.

The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree

The life cycle of an apple tree has many stages especially when they are grown from seed. The seed will germinate, become a seedling, grow bigger and taller, grow buds, flowers, and bear apples.

Can you grow an apple tree from seed? Yes, it is possible to grow an apple tree however most apple trees don’t have true-to-type seeds which means if you grow the seeds they will not grow the same as the parent tree.

The seeds can germinate and become an apple tree but the tree may grow differently, the fruits are not the same, and there are chances that it may not even produce apples.

Growing an apple tree from seed is not being practiced. Commonly apple trees are grown through grafting because it is one of the fastest ways to grow the tree and harvest apples.