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Grow Your Own: Fruit Trees & Pollinators

fruit tree pollination
One of the most popular social movements to affect the landscape design and garden center industry is the "Grow Your Own" phenomenon. As more consumers become aware of the benefits of locally grown, organic food, they are turning to the local horticulture experts to help design, plan and plant their own gardens and orchards. And that is where The Barn comes in.

We are going to be working on a series of blog posts that will help inform consumers of how simple it can be to design, plant and harvest your own food, from micro greens to apples and pears.

We will start with fruit trees and pollinators since our garden center in Crystal Lake just received a truckload of fresh, amazing fruit trees! And since apple picking season is upon us it is fresh in everyone's mind. Pollinating fruit trees can seem confusing or overwhelming since there is a lot of information out there but here below we outline the critical "Pollinators for Fruit Trees" information you need for success.

In order for fruit to develop, pollination needs to happen at "bloom time". The term "self-pollinating" or "self-fruitful" refers to fruit trees that have the ability to be pollinated by their own pollen and don't need cross pollinator. Self-fruitful options include Northstar, Montmorency Cherry, Red Haven Peach and Garden Delicious Apple. Grafted fruit trees, such as 3- in-1 or 6-in-1 include multiple varieties of fruit that pollinate one another. If the variety you plant is not self fruitful, cross pollination from another variety is essential for frulandscape design hawthorn woodsit to grow. This includes most apple and pear trees.

Honey Bees Work Hard!

Most pollination in fruit trees occurs by honey bees. Don't use pesticides and orchard sprays during bloom time to avoid harming the bees during the times cross pollination occurs.

Cross Pollination For Apple Trees

Apple Trees require cross pollination for most varieties so plan on purchasing and planting at least two varieties. Since crabapple trees are very hardy and commonly found in the landscape, using a crabapple as a cross pollinator is becoming more popular. Crabapples generally have a longer bloom time than apple trees, so they work well as a pollinator for multiple varieties

Commonly Stocked Apple Trees and their Recommended Cross Pollinators

Honeycrisp: Fuji, Gala, Cortland Semi-Dwarf

Gala: Cortland Semi-Dwarf, Fuji, Honeycrisp

Fuji: Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious

Garden Delicious: Self-Fruitful

McIntosh: Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp

As you can see, most of the apple trees The Barn Nursery carries at the garden center cross pollinate one another! Feel free to double check with us if you have any questions about different varieties.

Commonly Stocked Pear Trees & their Recommended Cross Pollinators

Bosc: Bartlett


Anjou: Bartlett, Bosc,

4-in-1 Pear: Self-fruitful. Can be combined with an Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc for improved yields.

Commonly Stocked Peach Trees & their Recommended Cross Pollinators

Red Haven: After trying a variety of peach trees in our area, we prefer to stock the Red Haven exclusively, as it is very hardy and disease resistant. The fruit is also frees stone, so the pit easily separates from fruit.

Commonly Stocked Cherry Trees & their Recommended Cross Pollinators

Montmorency (sour): Self Fruitful

Black Tartarian(sweet variety, must be pollinated by another sweet variety): Bing, Stella

North Star (sour): Self Fruitful

Sour cherries have more flavor and are great for cooking but need to have sugar added. Black Tartarian, Bing and Stella are sweet varieties.

Want to learn more about growing your own orchard? Read our Guide on how to grow Fruit Trees.

Stay tuned for our next blog post or read one of our most popular blogs, "The Top 10 Ornamental Trees for the Lanscape."





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