apple seed question


5 year old buck +
I think I already know the answer, but I'll ask the question anyway.

On Saturday I was hunting my friend's farm in SE MN and I saw a nice buck feeding under a large crabapple tree along a grassy hillside. The 10 pointer (well actually 8 pointer since both brow tines were snapped off) ended up with my tag on him, but that was one of the first times I've seen deer feeding on apples/crabapples in November.

The crabapple tree appears to just be a wild tree that happens to drop fruit at the right time. If I grabbed some of the crabapples and planted the seeds, would they end up similar to this tree or would it be a crap shoot? I planted some regular apple trees within 1/4 mile of this tree, so there are regular apple pollen sources in the neighborhood.
You could graft scion wood from that tree onto a rootstock and that would ensure you had the same fruit and drop time.
You could graft scion wood from that tree onto a rootstock and that would ensure you had the same fruit and drop time.

That would be the best otherwise it is a crap shoot.
That farm seems to have a bunch of those type of wild crabapple trees growing around the edge of the woods and along grassy areas, so I was hoping there would be a greater chance of the seedlings matching the parent tree since it seems to be happening naturally. But I also assumed the apples I planted there 5 years ago might throw a wrench into that plan since they're just starting to drop apples.

That crabapple tree has tall grass growing under it and every fall when the crabapples start dropping the deer pound it so hard that it looks like a herd of elephants trampled the grass under it.

I probably should try my hand at grafting, but I also might try planting a few seeds just to see what happens. When I planted random apple seeds in the past I always seemed to end up with some odd type of crabapple, so maybe I would get lucky.
Grafting is easier than you'd think.

I found the whole experience far more rewarding and enjoyable than this year's deer hunting.
I'll probably try both grafting and seeds. It seems that the crabapples in our area are more consistent fruit producers than regular apples and this one seems to drop fruit at the perfect time. I just need a tree just like this to grow about 15 yards away from my treestand.
I tried grafting a couple times on seedling apple trees I grew in my backyard. The grafted trees grew well, but a few months later the wind snapped them off at the graft location. So I don't have too much confidence in pulling off a successful attempt at grafting. Is there a simple grafting book/guide that also tells you where to get the supplies?
Dan hasn't commented yet (via Quality Habitat Management Group on Fb), but I'd like to have another grafting workshop next spring like we did this past year (where my trees came from in my orchard).

I too had some failures on my grafts, but the ones that worked are doing great. Perhaps with your location you'd need to splint or stake them? I can see that being needed in my orchard going forward as well. One of my taller grafts was bent over from wind after transplanting it up on the hill. The window screen rodent protection is actually holding it up straight now.
NH-In central Minnesota, nearly every wild apple is a crab and less than 2 inches in size. A very few throw apples just over 2 inches.

I think we have some real gems for deer in our wild crabs.

It'll be interesting to see how these turn out but I wanted to point out though that the seed grown stock may not be able to handle large loads unless staked which they wouldn't in the wild. That would be important for people trying to grow from seed to know.

The deer here do prefer the smaller 2" apples over large apples. The one crab that I do have is loaded again this year. The apples hang late on it and don't drop on their own. I think the grouse like it.
Good point, NH. Most of my grafting is crab scion or slightly larger than 2 inch apples and I used dolgo rootstock for this year.
I have mentioned it before, but I wonder what is the best type or from for an apple tree in our climate. I suspect more branches closer to the ground and more of a bush type of tree might be the best. Apple load is probably different on this type of tree.
That looks like a pretty decent sized bear.