A Guide To Fruit Tree Pollination
"This comprehensive guide provides a wealth of information on the pollination of fruit trees, making it an invaluable resource for gardeners everywhere."
Fruit tree pollination compatibility refers to the requirement of two different varieties of the same fruit type, with similar bloom times, to produce fruit. For most apple, pear, plum, and sweet cherry trees, which are not self-fertile, cross-pollination from two different compatible varieties is necessary for fruit production.
Most apricots, peaches, nectarines, and sour cherries, which are self-fertile, can still benefit from cross-pollination with a compatible variety of the same fruit type, leading to larger fruit size, improved fruit quality, and increased yields.
For successful cross-pollination, it's important to have the bloom times of the two different varieties overlap. Early blooming fruit trees can overlap with mid-season blooming fruit trees, and late-season blooming fruit trees can also overlap with mid-season blooming fruit trees. However, early blooming and late blooming fruit trees are not compatible, as their bloom times do not overlap.
How Pollination Occurs:
Pollinators play a critical role in the pollination of fruit trees. They are responsible for moving pollen from the male part of a flower (stamen) to the female part of the flower (pistil), which enables the plants to reproduce and produce fruit.
There are many different types of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, and hummingbirds. Each type of pollinator has different behaviors and physical adaptations that allow them to collect and distribute pollen. For example, bees have hairs on their bodies that collect and hold onto pollen, while butterflies have long proboscises that allow them to reach deep into flowers to obtain nectar.
When a pollinator visits a flower, it collects nectar, which provides energy, and pollen, which is used as a protein source for their young. As the pollinator moves from flower to flower, it transfers pollen from the male reproductive structures to the female reproductive structures, thereby pollinating the flower. This process can be accomplished in several ways, including direct contact between the pollinator and the flower, or by wind, which can carry pollen from one flower to another.
Once the flower has been pollinated, it will produce fruit that contains seeds. These seeds will grow into new plants, ensuring the continuation of the species. Without pollinators, fruit trees would not be able to produce fruit, and many plant species would eventually become extinct.
In recent years, there has been a decline in pollinator populations due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and disease, among other factors. This decline is a cause for concern, as it has the potential to impact the production of many of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are a staple of our diets. To help protect pollinators, it is important to support their populations by planting pollinator friendly flowering plants, reducing pesticide use, and conserving habitat.
How To Use Our Pollination Guide:
A table showing bloom periods for different varieties of each fruit type like the ones provided below can be used to successfully pick compatible fruit tree varieties for pollination. Here's how:
Identify the bloom period of your existing fruit trees: Look at the table and find the variety of the fruit tree that you already have and note its bloom period.
Select a compatible variety: Look for another variety of the same fruit type that blooms during the same or an overlapping period as your existing tree. This is essential so that the bloom periods overlap and cross-pollination can occur. (For Plums, in addition to overlapping bloom times you must use Japanese and American varieties for pollinating each other and themselves but European plums must be crossed with only other European varieties for successful pollination)
Consider the self-fertility of the fruit type: If the fruit type is self-fertile, like apricots, peaches, nectarines, and sour cherries, you can still benefit from adding another compatible variety, but it is not necessary for fruit production.
Repeat the process for each additional fruit tree type that you want to plant: Make sure to select compatible varieties for each new type of fruit tree you want to plant, in order to ensure cross-pollination and successful fruit production.
By following this process, you can use the table of bloom periods below to determine which varieties of fruit trees are compatible and will lead to a successful pollination, resulting in fruit production.
Note: The bloom period of a particular variety can vary slightly depending on the region, weather conditions, and other factors. The below categorizations are based upon an average Canadian climate including freezing winter temps and cool springs.
Apple Bloom Times:
|Apple Variety||Bloom Season|
|Urban® Blushing Delight™
Pear Bloom Times:
|Pear Variety||Bloom Season|
|Doyenné du Comice||Late|
Plum Bloom Times:
|Plum Variety||Bloom Season||Plum Type|
Sweet Cherry Bloom Times:
|Cherry Variety||Bloom Season|
Sour Cherry Bloom Times:
Apricot Bloom Times:
|Apricot Variety||Bloom Season|
Nectarine Bloom Times:
Peach Tree Bloom Times: