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Question of the Week



Permalink Can you tell me what the cross-pollination needs are for certain apple, pear, and berry varieties?

Answer: Apples should not present a problem. Arkansas Black is considered to be mostly pollen-sterile. Either the Enterprise or Williams Pride can pollinate it, but it can't pollinate anything. But you have three different varieties, so the Enterprise and Williams Pride will pollinate each other, as well as the Arkansas Black, so everything gets pollinated. By the way, the Williams Pride will start blooming most years a few days ahead of Arkansas Black and Enterprise, but there is plenty of overlap.

The potential problem lies with the pears. Like Arkansas Black apple, the Magness pear is understood to have mostly sterile pollen. It can be pollinated by the Shinko, but it cannot reciprocate. It might not be a problem if there are any other pears within two to three miles, but if you don't know if there are other pears in the vicinity, you should probably consider switching the Magness or adding a third pear to the mix. Since there are no more pollen-sterile pears, any pear would work.

Juneberries, raspberries, mulberries, and blackberries don't need cross-pollination, so you should be fine in that respect. Peaches and tart cherries are also self-pollinating. American persimmons need a male tree, but since there are so many around, that is rarely ever a problem. Japanese persimmon pollination is interesting and you can learn more about this in the ATTRA publication Persimmons, Asian and American, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=10. Blueberries do better if there are other varieties around, but cross-pollination is not essential.
ATTRA has several publications that can help you learn more about fruit production, including pawpaws, persimmons, pears, peaches, plums, apples, bramble fruits, and strawberries.

For more information on topics related to pollination, refer to the following ATTRA publications:

Tree Fruits: Organic Production Overview
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=2

Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=75

Companion Planting: Basic Concepts & Resources
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=72

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