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How to Propagate Downed Yellow Transparent Apple Tree?
Is there any way to graft from our downed tree to a new rootstock to replicate the fruit from this one?
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5 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 12:18 pm

We have an older Yellow Transparent apple tree in our backyard. Unfortunately, it fell over this weekend. The roots didn't pull up, so I think it would actually survive for a while this way. I've never grafted trees or anything like that, but would it be possible to either graft this so we can get the same kind of fruit in the future, or can we take a current branch and get it to grow into a replica of the current tree? Would that second method provide a tree with hardy roots, or would it be too delicate?

Also, is there an easy way to tell if this tree was grafted originally? It's probably 30-40 years old, if I had to guess, but it only has one variety on it.

I appreciate any help as I'm new to this!




623 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 12:59 pm


Welcome to the forum.  And congratulations, I think you have the distinction of starting the first post since we upgraded the site to the new look!

If your tree is truly Yellow Transparent, then it is almost certainly grafted.  Apples are generally very difficult to propagate from cuttings, and people prefer the benefits of dedicated rootstock.

You have lots of options to continue to get Yellow Transparent apples in the future.  Do you have any pictures?  There's a good chance the the tree will survive and continue to fruit for years, after having fallen over.  

You can collect scionwood in January and store it for grafting.  Rootstocks can be purchased inexpensively, and you could graft a couple of replacement trees to plant in other spots of the yard.  Perhaps you'll be able to continue to enjoy fruit from your current tree until the younger ones come into production.

Another option is simply to buy a Yellow Transparent tree and plant it.  It will be the same apples as your tree.

5 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 1:46 pm

Thank you for the welcome and information!

I've attached a couple pictures. The roots didn't tear out, though part of the trunk seems to be a bit rotten (looks like it was damaged when it was young as it doesn't have bark and no new growth around that portion of it). The top part of the trunk in the picture seems to still be healthy though. If we wanted to save the tree for a few more years, would we just prop it up? Any tips on how to do this effectively? We don't have a tractor or anything to help with the lifting.

In terms of just buying a replacement, I've read a little on newer trees not producing the same quality of fruit as the old stuff (different strains or something) - is that something to be worried about in this case? Or is Yellow Transparent pretty much always the same quality? I like the idea of trying to propagate a new tree from the old one, but that also seems challenging and I don't necessarily need another new hobby 😉




623 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 2:37 pm

Generally, grafted trees are identical to one another, they are clones.  So you can expect exact genetic match and identical fruit under the same conditions.  With a big caveat, and that is, over time and exposed to many environments, very occasionally, a tree will grow a limb that is different from the others.  Its from having a genetic mutation.  Sometimes that mutation can make a significant difference, and if people choose that branch to propagate, it may convey the new characteristics.  It's quite a rare occurance, but for varieties that are super popular, and have been around for decades, or centuries of commercial production there may be a bunch of changes through mutation.  A mutated version is called a "sport".

Apples like Fuji, and Red delicious may have several, or dozens of sports.  Each time they find one with redder skin, ripening earlier, tougher skin, color before ripe, and so forth, they select for those.

Yellow Transparent isn't a popular commercial apple, and isn't a dessert apple - so its unlikely there have significant change, if any.  It's not like people are touting yellower, earlier, or more transparent versions of it 🙂  It's already about as early as it gets, they don't keep, and it isn't going to win any taste tests.  They are great for processing into sauce.

This is a long way of saying a new tree should give you the same apples.  But if you want to be certain, or for sentimental reasons, you can always save some scions from it and graft.

edit:  I can't quite tell what's going on at the base of that tree, but it looks like some wood cracked, not just leaning over.  I think its a good idea to execute one of your backup plans to get another tree going.  There's a good chance this tree will send up root suckers.  You can allow one of these to grow and graft a yellow transparent bud or stick back to it.  I'd still want another tree, but that might extend this one for a number of years.

5 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 3:31 pm

That was very informative - thank you. We'll probably try to keep this one alive another year or two, but plant a new one in the fall. Hopefully the old one lives long enough for the new to product fruit. Still sad to see a mature tree go, though.



5 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 3:40 pm

One other question - we also have a Gravenstein - would these have equal quality fruit if we bought a new Gravenstein tree, or would this one be worth propagating from the current tree? It's got a few years left, but has some rot from an old cut limb that is pretty deep into the trunk.



Answers Post
623 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 4:56 pm

@Noot17 I know there are some sports of Gravenstein.  If you love the one you have, it may be worth propagating it.  Or you may get an even better one with a newer one.  Sometimes the selections are for the better - not just commercial interests.  Gravenstein is purportedly good for eating fresh, and there is probably more incentive to choose ones that make appealing fruit or for other characteristics.  You may see sports that have redder fruit, or bear at different time.

A quick Google search brings up this reference to "Red Gravenstein": , for instance.

I'd give your new apple tree 4 years or so to get fruiting significantly.

John S
2593 Posts
June 14, 2021 - 10:45 pm

I agree with everything that Jafar said, as usual.

I grow Gravenstein. I think it's a great early apple, particularly for the NW.  It varies by year and as Jafar inferred, some newer types aren't really grown for flavor, but for appearance. I would be wary of Red Gravenstein.
John S

5 Posts
June 15, 2021 - 2:58 pm

Thanks for the extra thoughts, Jafar and John. We really like the Gravenstein variety we have, so we'll probably try to propagate that.

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