Related ATTRA Publication:
Apples: Organic Production Guide
Researchers at Purdue University found that the type of tree used for a pollinator in apple orchards can affect the amount of fruit that sets on trees. Orchardists frequently plant crab apple trees as pollen sources in orchards, because of their prolific blooms. However this research showed that using Red Delicious as a pollinator for Honeycrisp doubled the fruit set compared to using crab apple pollinators. This research found that, overall, the Red Delicious was the best pollinizer, followed by Golden Delicious and then the crab apple varieties. The researchers suggest planting Red Delicious near high-value apple crops to promote good fruit set.