Seedling trees have the advantage of being on their own roots. They can have very long lifespans, sometimes over 100 years.
Many apple seedlings do come true from seed, especially crab apples.
Crab apples are easy to grow, have no graft union to worry about. The fruit is excellent for wildlife, preserves, cider, and even fresh eating sometimes. Shaking fruit down on to a tarp, makes collecting so fast that I believe crabs have tremendous potential in the cider industry and are immensely useful to the homesteader.
Variety Descriptions Listed Below
Malus Siervesii This species originates from the Tien Shen Mountains of Kazahkstan from which virtually all domestic apples have originated from. They contain an enormous, untapped gene pool from which plant breeders are experimenting with to find new disease resistant varieties.
Malus Ranetka Extraordinarily cold hardy crab apple to at least -40f. Produces abundant clusters of fruit that can hang on well into winter providing for wildlife. The tasty tart fruit is also good for making preserves. Ranetka apples are most commonly used as a tough, cold hardy rootstock for northern growers in Alaska.
Malus Sargentii - Sargent Crab apple- Very cold hardy crab apple, pink blossoms, small red fruits hang on all winter until the birds clean them out. One of the most beautiful, productive and tasty of the tiny fruited crabs. Highly disease resistant. Valued by craft hard cider makers, wildlife enthusiasts, and ornamental gardeners.
Rochester Crab apple- Found growing along the Erie Canal, these wild crabs produce abundant crops of nickel to quarter sized fruits that range in color from yellow to red. Fruits persist well into winter.
Antonovka- This cold hardy apple from Russia, makes a large all around utility fruit. Great for wildlife, preserves, storing, and makes a sturdy rootstock