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We had a very old Baldwin apple tree (more than 100 years old) that finally fell down last year. It now seems to be developing sprouts from the roots. My question is: since this is a very old tree, how likely is it to have been grafted on to a non-Baldwin rootstock?

If that is the case then the sprouts will not bear Baldwin apples. All the Baldwin apple trees now for sale are grafted on to other rootstocks but I don't know when this became the standard practice.

  • Grafting is an old technique already used by Greeks and Romans. Since the original Baldwin apple tree was a chance seedling, I assume that all other Baldwin trees were propagated (thru graft) from this original tree (or from their grafts). So I am afraid that the roots are from something else, but you never know. Maybe you can find a new mother tree somewhere in the neighborhood for a new graft? – benn Jun 26 '18 at 8:18
  • Idk probably 50/50... they used to use layering and air-layering more than they do now... so I think it is possible that it is on its own roots. – Grady Player Jun 26 '18 at 19:44
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The Baldwin apple is likely to be grafted (early 1900s). As b.nota commented the practice of grafting is very old. Also, back then popular varieties were greatly prized which increases the chances of graft established trees. The cultivar itself has been around since the 1700s, so about 300 years. A couple of links below give some history. You could establish the root sprouts to see, possibly comparison of the vegetative tree growth (shape/habit/vigor/leaves etc. - especially the flowers) might yield some early clues about the rootstock being Baldwin or not.

https://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/the_apple_in_north_america

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin_(apple)

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