Apple Trees

Apple Trees – Pollination

We have had several questions about Apple Trees over the past few days.  Apples are a huge topic.  The University of Illinois Extension Service reports that:

  • There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States
  • There are 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world
  • 100 varieties are grown commercially in the United States

That is a lot of ground to cover in one short article.  Since the majority of the questions I get this time of year are concerned with pollinating and fruit production, I will stick to those topics.

Apple Tree Pollination

The general rule among apple growers is that all varieties of apple trees be cross-pollinated with another variety of apple or crabapple.  A little known fact is that apple trees have a “king blossom.”  The “King Blossom” is the first blossom to open in a blossom cluster and generally the largest.  This “king blossom” must be pollinated. 

Apple Tree Bloom Times

Apple trees blossom at different times during the spring.  You must choose two varieties whose bloom times overlap to insure proper pollination.  Plant the trees within 50 feet of each other.  If you are using dwarf varieties, move them closer together.  Twenty feet is the maximum distance dwarf varieties should be separated.

Apple Trees – Self Pollinating or Self Fruitful

When you are shopping for apple trees, you may notice that some are labeled as “self-fruitful.”  These varieties may set fruit if planted alone, but if companion planted with another apple tree, they will set more fruit and produce bigger fruit regularly.

Great in the landscape

Apple trees are a great addition to any home garden and landscape.  They can be beautiful trees on their own, and when they bloom, they are incredible.  The enjoyment of picking fresh apples for your table, for cooking or preserving cannot be described.  Following a few simple rules when choosing and planting your trees can make those future harvests bountiful and satisfying.

Apple Trees - Bloom Time Chart
apple trees - cross pollination chart

University of Illinois Apples and More Facts

University of Missouri Extensions – Pollinating Fruit Crops

Texas A&M University AgriLife – Apples

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