Unless you live in an isolated area, it is likely that the proximity of other gardens and insect activity will mean that pollination of your fruit trees will occur naturally, however; the following information may assist in selecting suitable varieties for your garden:
In order to optimise the chances of pollination, it is useful to know when each variety flowers. Fruit tree varieties are split into 5 flower groups, which will cross-pollinate with one-another as follows:
- Varieties in flower group 1 will cross-pollinate with varieties in groups 1 and 2
- Varieties in flower group 2 will cross-pollinate with varieties in groups 1, 2 and 3
- Varieties in flower group 3 will cross-pollinate with varieties in groups 2, 3 and 4
- Varieties in flower group 4 will cross-pollinate with varieties in groups 3, 4 and 5
- Varieties in flower group 5 will cross-pollinate with varieties in groups 4 and 5
Self fertile varieties
A self fertile variety will require only one tree in order to bear fruit, as there is no need for cross-pollination. A few self fertile varieties exist in each of the fruit groups, however; all nectarines, apricots and peaches are self fertile.
The majority of Malus Crab Apple varieties are self fertile which makes them useful pollinators for apples.
Triploid varieties are poor pollinators and are mostly apples, with the occasional pear. For pollination to occur, triploids should be planted with one self fertile variety or two other varieties which will cross-pollinate each other.
Blossom on older branches tends to open before blossom on younger wood, therefore; having trees of the same variety but different ages in your garden can extend the pollination period.