Want to grow Golden Spire apples but fruit has no pips

Moderator: appledude

Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:50 am

Want to grow Golden Spire apples but fruit has no pips

Post by colindun »

Last year I had a road verge apple tree here in Easter Ross, Scotland, identified by Brogdale as ‘probably’ Golden Spire. This is a variety originally discovered in Lancashire in about 1850, and its presence here is a bit of a puzzle. A nearby farm was bought 3 generations ago by a farmer moving from Yorkshire, so it’s possible they took some trees north with them when they moved and this tree grew from a discarded apple.

As the tree does well and fruits most years, I though it would be nice to grow some seedlings from the fruit and plant a few more in hedgerows and road verges around the area.

However, upon collecting a dozen apples for this purpose I found that none of them had pips. Anyone know why this might be? Is it possible for an apple tree to be self-fertile (as the Golden Spire is supposed to be), but be unable actually to produce viable seed? Or is it simply that production of seeds may be a bit intermittent - good some years, poor others?


Carl on Cape Cod
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:14 pm

Re: Want to grow Golden Spire apples but fruit has no pips

Post by Carl on Cape Cod »

Hi Colin,

Whatever tree it is, it will most likely not breed true, even if you were able to collect some seed.

If you have access to the tree in late winter (about 6 weeks before it starts to bud), the best thing would be to get yourself some rootstock, and try your hand at grafting. (There are many good resources online for how to do this, and if you make a half dozen different tries, hopefully at least one or two will take and grow.)

Good luck!
Current trees: (on Bud 118) Roxbury Russet (2), Gravenstein (1), Hewe's Crab (1), Golden Russet (2), Liberty (1), Unknown local early russet (1)
Maiden Trees in nursery in 2016 (Bud 118): Harrison's Cider (1), Unknown local early russet (2), Fameuse (1)
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Want to grow Golden Spire apples but fruit has no pips

Post by badcyclist »

I agree that growers propagate apples via grafts, rather than by seed, because apples do not reproduce true to the source tree.

Your pip problem might be related to the same point. Most, but not all, apples need to be cross-polinated with another type of apple to fruit. Some varieties are self-pollinating, but the apples produced that way are often: (a) not quite as good quality as cross-pollinated apples; and (b) apples that are not cross-pollinated often lack seeds, or have only partially developed seeds. So your tree might be self-pollinating, and that would explain the lack of seeds.

But you shouldn't take my word for it, because I am as far from an expert as you can get on propagating apple trees. But it is one possibility, anyway.
Post Reply