Spring and apple blossom are months away, what does pollination have to do with anything in October?
Nothing, if you already have apple trees that are happily partnered up. But the bareroot tree planting season is almost here and if you are planning on adding some apple trees to your garden, you need to make sure that they have the right pollination partners for them to bear fruit.
Even if your trees are listed as being self-fertile, they will still only give the best crops when cross pollinated.
To help you choose the right trees, we have cooked up a handy new apple tree pollination checking gizmo.
This table combines 2 different ways of choosing a pollination partner - pollination groups & pollination dates.
This is not meant to confuse you! They are really the same thing - a pollination group is just a group of pollination dates.
They are both ways of seeing if two trees will be in flower at more or less the same time.
So why do groups and dates exist?
Pollination Groups were invented to make life easy and to simplify choosing partners from a massive list of apples.
They are commonly used in one of two ways:
- "All apple trees in group B will pollinate each other." This prevents disappointment, but unnecessarily narrows your choices.
- "Apple trees in group B will pollinate with trees in groups A,B or C." This is correct most of the time, but there's a flaw with it:
- Trees at the start of group B will not pollinate well with trees at the end of group C and
- Trees at the end of group B will not pollinate well with trees at the start of group A
So here's the trade secret: farmers & people like us in the apple tree industry prefer not to use pollination groups.
A pollination group is only a group of pollination dates, so why not just use pollination dates?
A pollination date is not a specific date of the month, it is just a number to show you which trees all have their peak of flowering on the same day - this exact day will vary from year to year and location to location.
Pollination Dates are very easy to use and give you an exact idea of which trees are compatible.
An apple tree will cross-pollinate with trees that have a pollination date up to 3 days either side of its own. For Example:
A tree with a pollination date of 10 will cross-pollinate with trees that have a pollination date of 7-13 inclusive.
That's all there is to it!
This will all make perfect sense when you look at our lovely colour coded Apple tree pollination chart.
Please drop us a comment if this is confusing - we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the right apple trees.