Pollination.

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Cherry tree,  in full blossom.

The fruit trees have been in blossom for about three weeks and we’ve enjoyed a rather cheery blaze of pretty white flowers on the orchard plot.

The pear tree has lost most of its petals now and we are beginning to see the formation of fruit. See below.

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Essentially trees develop fruit to reproduce and successful pollination is required for fruit to set and develop.

There are two types of fruit trees

Self pollinating – trees that don’t need another trees pollen to complete the pollination process. 

Most apricot, sour cherry, peaches, nectarine and QUINCE trees are self-pollinating trees.

Cross pollinating – trees that need to be pollinated with the pollen of another tree. That tree has to be of the same fruit species but a completely different variety. Two trees of the same variety will not pollinate each other.

Most sweet cherry, pear, apple and plum trees fall into this category.

Fortunately, our 5 fruit trees are planted in a block and there are other fruit trees on the allotment. Bees and other flower loving insects are attracted to the blossom and they seem to  be spreading the pollen around. I’m just a little concerned that I removed one of the cherry trees to make way for the quince tree. However, the cherry tree I removed  is now planted on the plot opposite so hopefully this won’t lead to pollination issues.

So how does pollination work? 

Fruit trees flower early to mid spring. Pollination is generally carried out by busy bees and other pollen loving insects. So far, this spring has been fairly mild, dry and sunny, which has encouraged bee and insect activity. This should lead to successful pollination and good fruit production.

Blossom and the first stages of fruit formation can be susceptible to late frosts. Poor spring weather can lead to poor pollination and a disappointing fruit production.

The reproduction process requires pollen to be transferred from the flowers stamen (male), carried by bees and insects, to the flowers pistil (female) for the pollen to germinate.

flower_diagram

So bees and insects carry the pollen from the stamen from one tree and transfer it to the sticky stigma of another tree. Once the pollen is embedded on the stigma, the pollen germinates. Once the pollen germinates a pollen tube grows down the style (the mid section of the pistil) to the flowers ovary (at the base of the pistil). This is followed by a male reproductive nuclei. This male nuclei fuses with the female ovary and this eventually develops into a fruit.

Temperature also plays an important role in successful germination. Ideally temperatures need to be in the region of 60F to 70F for pollination to be effective. Fortunately we have enjoyed some lovely warm weather over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not saying a word! But I’m going to dust of all those boxes of Kilner jars!!

Posted in Fruit

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