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How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Posted by tinyrose z11 S.Cal (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 10, 08 at 15:10

I have a a Burgundy plum and a Goldkist apricot tree. I would like to plant an aprum (sp?) and a plucot. How close do they need to be planted to the plum and apricot to cross pollinate? I can't find the answer in any of my gardening books. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Tinyrose


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

  • Posted by myk1 5 IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 10, 08 at 15:12

About a quarter mile. Or more depending on how industrious your bugs are.


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Thank you so much! I thought it was more like 15 feet.
Tinyrose


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Tinyrose:

I think there is considerable experience on this site that says the closer the better. For really hard to pollinate varieties, it helps to have the varieties intergrafted on the same tree. But for your situation, just plant them next to each other. Let the spacing be decided by tree size and pruning level you are willing to apply.

The Fruitnut


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Well, I don't agree with inter-grafted as being necessary. In fact I don't like inter-grafting at all. But anywhere in the same yard will be fine. Remember bees can be disrupted by obstacles like a house, so, on opposite sides of the house may not be effective. Commercial orchards will often plant one row of pollinators for a whole block of trees which can be 1/4 mile buy a 1/4 mile.


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Please note I stated that intergrafting can help on really hard to pollinate cultivars. Things like Flavor Supreme and Flavorella. Last yr in my greenhouse I had more fruit set on one small intergrafted limb of Flavor Supreme than on three nearby trees combined. This is an issue of whether the bees work the bloom or not.

Intergrafting is not necessary for most plums and pluots.

On the other extreme, 1/4 mile may work for some apples but it won't be recommended for anything that really needs pollination.

The Fruitnut


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

  • Posted by myk1 5 IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 12, 08 at 9:20

Think of the flowers like billboards. They bloom at the same time to call insects to them. If they're in sight you should get enough crossing between them to pollinate.
Some of the draw is scent and since many pollinators can fly, objects that block our view would not block theirs.
You're more likely to have a larger group of flowers attract the attention than you're going to have a building block your billboard. If you're in suburbia you'll find you can often get away with planting a tree that needs a pollinator and you have no idea where the pollinator is (that may be getting less and less true with seemingly fewer people interested in growing their own fruit). My friend in the county has 2 of the same plum trees and gets pollination, he had a single cherry and didn't get pollination (even though he has plenty of wild cherries).

Of course closer is better, it's the same reason they pile billboards together. Once one ad catches the eye of someone they go on to read the next one. And in the case of cross pollination you need them to read both ads for either to be effective.
But 1/4mi is the general rule of thumb, 1/4mi is not that far.

Bees travel up to 6mi so the real issue is getting the same bee to visit both flowers while they still have the pollen on their bodies.


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RE: How close to plant trees for cross pollination?

Thank you to everyone who posted. My new trees will be planted 12 feet and 36 feet from their cross-pollinators (I don't think that is a word). I have bees everywhere. The buzz in my tiny orchard is amazing. Glad to know they will find their way from one tree to the next. This was my first year with fruit trees and I can't believe I ever lived without them.
Tinyrose


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