Johnny Appleseed trees

Okay, I don’t get it. If you can’t grow good apples from seeds, then how is it that it was a great service for him to plant apple seeds in frontier areas? Wouldn’t he have sown the seeds of bad apples all over America? -J

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board. :slight_smile: Wow, a Newbie who actually went back and got the link to the column, I love you!! :smiley:

Good point. Maybe it’s that the apples you can grow from seed, while not the most desirable apples in the world, nevertheless when picked, juiced, allowed to ferment, and ingested, can still manage to give you a popskull headache the next morning. So maybe nobody cared if the apples Johnny planted were bad apples.

Pioneers arrive in new land. “Hey, this guy’s selling apple trees!”

“Yeah, but they suck, man.” [spits out bite of sample]
“Who cares? Let’s par-tayyy!!”

From the column: “In the 1700s and 1800s, most apples were grown not for eating but for making hard cider.”

Some of our modern apple varieties were discovered growing in groves that Johnny planted.

Well, once John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) started throwing his apple seeds all over hells creation people started to find out that they were really bad once the tree grew and so on and so forth…However, It wasnt until people started grafting the trees i.e. Taking a graft, or part of one tree (which already produces good apples) and transplanting that graft to another apple tree that may or may not produce good apples…but the fruit from the graft (which eventually becomes the tree that is kept - over 5-7 years) the apples are good. So Mr. Chapman wasn’t all wrong.

I have an old apple orchard on my property with a few trees that are well over a hundred years old. We don’t use the apples except for baking…otherwise the deer and animals eat most of the rest…

Sorry if the Report is unclear. The apples from trees grown from seeds are not ideal for eating, but are just fine for making cider.

If you want apples for eating, you have to graft from trees that you know provide good eating apples. Or you have to experiment a LOT to get such a tree by accident. If you just want apples for cider and don’t care much about eating them directly, then seeds work fine.

That clearer?

And welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, JPearl, glad to have you with us.

Okay, that’s better. Though I tell ya, having been through college, it’s a wonder I overlooked the primary importance of apples in colonial times - as alcoholic refreshment.

Thanks all. -JP