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Pollination requirements of fruit trees

Growing your own fruit from trees and shrubs in a backyard orchard is a rewarding way to not only incorporate some more healthy fruits into your diet, but also enjoy the process of growing them yourself. Something that is just as important as finding a variety or fruit that you like, is knowing how the tree or shrub you select needs to pollinate. This is important to do before you plant anything, and to keep in mind when planning your orchard, as picking the wrong varieties could land you with a yard full of barren trees and shrubs.

As detailed in a wonderful resource called The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan, you’ll need to pay attention to different needs for different kinds of fruits. Follow the guidance below to get started:

  • Apples: Two or more different cultivars are recommended for pollination. If several apples belong to the same family group are planted together, plant another cultivar nearby.

  • Peaches: Many peach cultivars are self-fertile, but several of the most popular kind are not. Mikado, J. H. Hale, and Elberta are among those that need a mate. It is a good idea to plant two different cultivars for insurance.

  • Pears: Two or more different cultivars are recommended for good crops. A third kind is needed if you plant Bartlett and Seckel together.

  • Plums: There are several families of plums, and two different cultivars within the same family are needed for cultivation.

  • Sour cherries: Sour cherries are one of the few fruits that nearly always self-pollinate well, so one tree is all you need.

  • Sweet cherries: Two or more different cultivars are necessary. Sour cherries are not good pollinators for sweet cherries because they often bloom at different times.

At Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center, we sell apple, pear, peach and cherry trees that have all been selected to thrive in northern Illinois’ growing zone, 5b. Consider the advice above a starting point, if you are trying to build your own orchard.

Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center is a full service landscape center and nursery located in Cary, Illinois. Stop in today to schedule a Spring 2022 cleanup. (Updated: 3/2/22)

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