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  • Writer's pictureAlex Tamayo Wolf

Permaculture Gardening and Landscaping: Apple Pollination Basics

Just a few critical points when selecting apple trees for your yard or micro-orchard. First, most apples don't self pollinate; so, you need a pollinating partner; or, let's call it a "pollinating scheme". In your pollinating scheme, and, to keep this example simple, let's say you have two trees in your scheme. Those two trees cannot be the same variety, like two Shogun Fujis; they need to be different varieties. Now, your pollinators need to have flowers in bloom for each two the same time. Not all trees flower at the same time. My Cort Pendu Plat is a seriously late bloomer, for example, really late. This leads us to the another concept called Flowering Group. The two apple trees in our scheme need to flower about the same time, or be in a compatible flowering group. Flowering groups are assigned by number from 1 (earliest) to 7 (the latest). A group 6, like the Cort Pendu Plat, can only be pollinated by group 5, 6, 7 varieties, for example. If you don't have compatible trees, you don't get fruit. And, not all nursery employees know this. One more thing, many orchards use crab apple trees as kind of a universal pollinator. They are also beautiful trees. I recommend one.

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