Pollinators For Fruit Trees and Berries
Most fruit trees require pollination and chilling temperatures from November to mid-February to break dormancy in the spring. Pollination is the process of pollen from one flower being transferred to another flower, required by certain plants and trees. The process of pollination can be by insects, animals, wind, or humans. Fruit trees need pollination for good fruit set, which occurs when a recommended fruit tree, (pollinator) is planted nearby. A pollinator can be describe as a tree or shrub that produces flowers at the same time and needs to be a different variety or cultivar, but of the same fruit. For example, apples pollinate other apple trees. For good pollination, the recommended spacing is 50 to 75 feet apart. When a fruit tree or berry plant is described as self-pollinating, the tree or berry plant is pollinated by their own flowers, but it is recommended to plant more than one for better fruit set. A plant or tree starts to go dormant when exposed to chilling temperatures. Chilling temperatures for a plant or tree are when night time temperatures drop to 45°F or below. Chill hours can be described as the number of hours the plant or tree receives temperatures at or below 45°F. Listed below are a few cultivars and pollinators for southern fruit trees, nuts trees, and berry plants.
Apples – All apples require pollinator depending on the variety. Listed below are a few cultivars for the south. Chilling hours are when night time temperatures are 45° or below.
Anna requires a pollinator with another cultivar. Dorsett Golden is a good pollinator for the Anna cultivar. Chilling Hours: 200 – 300.
Dorsett Golden - requires a pollinator with another cultivar. The Anna cultivar is a good pollinator for Dorsett Golden. Chilling Hours: 250.
Ein Shemer – self-pollinating and very productive. Anna and Dorsett can be used as pollinators. Chilling Hours: 200.
Fuji – requires a pollinator and tolerates summer heat. Any cultivar is good for pollination. Chilling Hours: 400 – 600 hours.
Gala – requires a pollinator and tolerates summer heat. Golden Delicious can be used a pollinator. Chilling Hours: 600.
Golden Delicious – benefits from a pollinator, Red Delicious. Chilling Hours: 600 – 700.
Granny Smith – self-pollinating and heat resistant. Chilling Hours – 500 – 600.
Red Delicious – benefits from a pollinator, Golden Delicious. Chilling Hours: 900.
Avocado – Avocados are self-pollinating, but benefit from a pollinator. Choose a different cultivar as a pollinator. Avocado trees should be planted in a well-drained area. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk. Fertilize newly planted trees every 2 months for the first year starting when new growth appears after planting. The second year after planting fertilize 3 to 4 times a year ending in October. Use a fertilizer recommended for Citrus, Avocado, and Mango or 10-6-4 or 6-4-4.
Banana – are heavy feeders and require sufficient amounts of water. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk. Fertilize every month with a fertilizer recommended for Citrus, Avocado, and Mango, or 10-6-4, or 6-4-4. Bananas are clumping by nature and the new growth or suckers should be removed by cutting down to the soil line. Always keep at least 5 mature banana stalks. When the banana stalk produces fruit and is ready to be harvested cut off the bananas and then cut down the entire banana stalk that produced the fruit. At this time, let another sucker mature to produce fruit, but always keep at least 5 mature banana stalks. One can tell the banana is ready to be harvested when the fruit starts to turn yellow in color. If, the bananas start to split before harvesting increase the water times or the amount of water received by the plant.
Blackberry – All blackberries are self-pollinating and can grow on poor soil and will produce fruit after the second year of planting. Apply 10-10-10 or 16-16-8 fertilizer in early spring and after fruit production is done. The canes only produce fruit once and should be removed and cut down to the ground.
Blueberry – All blueberries are self-pollinating, but will produce more blueberries if pollinated by another variety. Blueberries need an acid soil and you can use Miracle-Gro (MG) Azalea Soil, or MG Rose Soil, or Humus and Cow Manure Mix. Also, add mulch or pine straw to help with the acidity of the soil. Apply a slow-release Azalea type fertilizer in early spring and summer.
Citrus – All citrus are self-pollinating and requires well-drained soil. Fertilize with a citrus fertilizer. Start fertilizing new planted trees when new growth starts. For older citrus trees, fertilized 4 times a year, but no later than October for the last application. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk and do not use mulch, but use pine straw instead. All citrus trees can be grown in a large cedar planter box. Click to view cedar planter boxes on sale at HibiscusAndMore.com.
Fig – All figs are self-pollinating, easy to low maintenance and produce heavy amounts of fruit. Figs natural growth habit is a large shrub, but can be trained as an espalier.
Grapes – All grapes are self-pollinating and need a support such as a trellis, lattice, or fence. Fertilize in the spring and early summer the first two years after planting with a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Grapes are not heavy feeders.
Mango – All mangos are self-pollinating, but will produce more fruit if pollinated with another variety. Mangos are very sensitive to temperatures that drop below 40° F for extended periods of time. When temperatures drop below 40° F there will be damaged to the flower and temperatures that drop to 30° F or below will damage the trunk of young trees. Wrap the tree with a blanket or frost cloth to prevent trunk damage. Newly planted trees fertilize every month for the first year with 6-6-6, or 8-8-8, or 10-10-10 plus minors ending in October. Thereafter, fertilize 3 to 4 times a year.
Peaches – All peaches are self-pollinating, but will benefit from another variety to be more productive.
Pecans – All pecans require a pollinator of a different variety for better nut yield.
Plums – Most plums require a pollinator. For pollinators use a different variety. Plum trees require 400 to 500 chill hours.
Pomegranate – All pomegranates are self-pollinating. Wonderful variety productive. Planting two or more improves fruit set.
Strawberries – All strawberries are self-pollinating and can be grown in a hanging basket.
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Photography and digital images are ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2014. All Rights Reserved. All photographs and digital images displayed in this article are for viewing purposes only and cannot be duplicated ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2014. Texas Certified Nursery Professional #1282.