I have a red delicious apple tree grown from seed. It is currently about 9...

Asked July 28, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

I have a red delicious apple tree grown from seed. It is currently about 9 years old. This will be its second year bearing fruit; however, the fruit is much smaller (about golf ball sized) than I expected. Two years ago I purchased and planted a gala about 30' away. There is also a crab apple tree about 75' away. The Gala bore fruit (several) this year that are about 15% larger than the fruit on the red delicious. How large should the red delicious apples be at this point in the season? Thanks for your help.

Frederick County Maryland

3 Responses

If the tree actually grew from seed, there is no way to predict what kind of fruit will be produced. Named varieties of apples are grafted, with root and scion from different varieties. Seeds, however, have nearly infinite variation so even two seedlings from the same tree may be different. Consider it an adventure in horticulture!

Ms. S.

Could you identfiy it from a photo? (Current photo or of when it was in blossom?)

I do consider it an enjoyable adventure - which I am continuing with 4 seedlings grown from gala seeds and 5 from red delicious seeds. I would have thought (and did think) that a seed from a red delicious apple would produce a red delicious tree.

Apple seeds are very complex in terms of genetics. It is next to impossible to grow one from seed that is the same as the parent. The appearance of the tree or the fruit will not tell much about the taste, colour or shape of the fruit. This article explains some of the factors involved: http://treesandshrubs.about.com/od/propagation/f/applesfromseed.htm

If you would like to read a highly entertaining and informative book about plants, and apples in particular, check your library for The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.