Saturday, 18 May 2013

pollination army

Blossom time is in full swing and the orchards are humming with activity.  It's a beautiful sunny day today, (hooray), and the bees are busy in the trees collecting pollen and nectar.  So I thought I'd show you a classic example of what 'pollination groups' mean in relation to fruit trees.

Most fruit trees can't pollinate themselves, they need a friend of the same species.*  (Yes, it's 'the birds and the bees' talk again!).  This friend is only good, in reproductive terms, if it has its flowers open at the same time.  In order to help you choose trees that are good pollination partners, some kindly scientists have split them into groups numbered 1-5. Number ones are first out of the blocks and number fives are the last to flower. Trees are good to get fruity with another individual from the same group, or one number either side.**

The bees that are busy visiting the flowers on this tree...

...can't transfer pollen to the flowers on this tree because its buds are still closed.

So if you're planning a backyard orchard, think about pollination groups when you choose your trees.
(The info will be on the back of the label).

Check out these previous posts for more fruit related blatherings

* We're talking apples with apples, and pears with pears etc.  None of that weird inter-species reproductive stuff on my watch, thank you very much!
** Some things need two other individuals to pollinate them - they're called triploids, (although I'm sure we can all think of a few other names for that kind of behaviour!). Bramley apples are probably the most well known example of this.


  1. Ahh, this is interesting and something i hadn't considered. We've just cleared out some tree trees in order to plant a couple more fruit trees AND we have a seriously underperforming apple...