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Fruit Tree Pollination 101

Most people ask which fruit trees need pollinators and which don’t, as well as other questions about ensuring fruit production. Hardly any point planting an apple tree if it never or seldom bears fruit. Here’s a little primer to get you on the right track with a back yard orchard.

For fruit tree production flowers must be pollinated by bees, so the closer trees are to one another the easier their job. Spacing of 25 feet between apple trees seems to be a good rule of thumb for maximum production, but greater distances are acceptable as long as those busy bees can make the journey with ease.

Many fruit trees need pollinators in order to produce fruit. For example, an apple tree must be flowering simultaneously with ANOTHER variety of apple. Except for ‘Mount Royal’, varieties of plums sold at Blake Nursery also need two different varieties flowering at the same time for pollination. Pears are also not self-pollinating and require two different varieties for pollination, such as Ure and Summercrisp. (Unfortunately ‘Gourmet’ pear is not a pollinator, so if you plant this variety you’ll need two additional varieties.)

Unlike apples, pears, and plums (except for 'Mount Royal'), pie cherries such as ‘Meteor’, ‘North Star’, and 'Montmorency' are self fertile. In this case you only need one tree for fruit production — ideal for the smaller yard.

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, just ask the knowledgeable staff at Blake Nursery to set the record straight. We’re happy to guide you through the pollination maze.

View fruit trees and apples from our catalog pages.

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