In a new series of blogs for Stalbridge Info Julian de Bosdari of Ashridge Nurseries gives us some very useful advice on the pollination of fruit trees.
All fruit trees need to be pollinated in order to carry fruit. Cross pollination happens when two fruit trees of different but compatible varieties are in flower at the same time and the pollen from one fertilises the flower of the other. There are several "need to knows" here. By and large, fruit trees should not be planted in windy locations or at high altitude (above about 600ft to be safe) because the bees that do the hard work of carrying pollen from tree to tree find it hard to fly in these conditions so pollination will be less reliable.
Second, just because two trees of the same type (e.g. 2 x apples) are in flower at the same time does not mean they are compatible. So it is important to pay attention to parentage and to pollination group as the fertility "window" of some varieties is very limited. Our tool does that for you.
Third, account needs to be taken of sterile (known as triploid) trees. The best known of these is probably the Bramley. It can be fertilised by a wide range of other varieties but it fertilises nothing in return. So if you are growing a triploid fruit tree, you will need two other varieties to pollinate each other as well as the triploid thereby making sure all your apple trees crop to the maximum.
Finally, some fruit trees are described as being "self-fertile". This is correct but to varying degrees; most plums are perfectly self fertile while almost no apples are and so crop better if they are cross-pollinated by another variety. But if you only have room for one apple tree.....
Julien de Bosdari
Correct Pollination of your Fruit Trees Increases crop Size. To aid gardeners Julien de Bosdari has produced an online pollination checker on the website of Ashridge Trees. Just select your chosen fruit type and variety in the drop-down lists on the page and click "Find Pollination Partners". You will then get a list of the compatible varieties available. Click on the button below to visit Ashridge Trees website and try out the free online pollination checker.