Pollination of fruit trees explained...mostly
Before we waffle on about pollination, you need to understand the different types of fertility with fruit trees.
Self-Fertile: Will produce fruit without the need of pollen from another tree. You can plant this in the middle of nowhere and it will still produce fruit.
Partially Self-Fertile: Will produce some fruit without the pollen of another tree but more fruit is provided with a pollination partner e.g. another tree of the same species within a few miles.
Non-Self-Fertile: Needs a pollination partner to produce fruit i.e. another tree of the same species within a few miles.
Pollination is the process of pollen coming from a same species tree being physically added to the flowers of your tree to start the fruit growing process. This comes about by the generous nature of bees, moths, butterflies, flies and also the wind.
This is a very simplified explanation as flowering or blooming times also affect you. Most fruit tree blooming times occur over April/May during a 6 week period. Start, end and duration of flowering are dictated by weather and local conditions. To try and make this easier for you in selecting a suitable pollination partner we have classified our fruit trees with codes. These are C1, C2, C3, C4 and C5. These show flowering times and you can use a code one down, the same or one above the code for the tree you have chosen. So if you have made an “emotional attachment” to an apple tree of code C3, then you can have a C2, C3 or C5 as a pollination partner. If you want to admire a C1 tree in your garden then you only have the choice of C1 or C2. The effects of climate change are not fully understood as yet and will again impact on these dates.
Crab apple trees will also pollinate other apple trees if the flowering periods are the same or similar.
Plums, Gages and Damsons are all of the same family and so will pollinate each other but as before, need to bloom/flower at the same time.
If your nearest source of fruit tree pollen is more than a mile away then you should consider purchasing a pollination partner of the same species. So if you live on an estate, another pollination partner is likely to be nearby whereas a Country farmer (as opposed to an inner city one!) will struggle.
Triploid varieties are poor pollinators for any other variety.
Many varieties these days are self fertile - details are given with each tree on this subject.
Due to pollen incompatibilities pollination of non self-fertile varieties is not obvious so for clarity we have specified a choice of partners.
PEACHES, NECTARINES AND APRICOTS
All varieties are self-fertile
MALUS ORNAMENTAL CRAB APPLES
These are a very useful range of trees where many varieties will pollinate apples. Of particular use are Golden Hornet, Evereste, Golden Gem, Red Sentinel and Liset.