Fruit trees require pollination in Spring to produce fruit. Attract pollinators to the landscape with many flowers, avoiding the use of insecticides, and make water available to these hard-working garden aids. Late spring freezing temperatures may inhibit fruit production.
For fruit to develop on fruit trees, pollination must occur at blossom time. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (anther) to the female part of the flower (stigma). Some types of fruit trees may be pollinated with their own pollen and are considered self-fruitful or self-pollinating. Others require pollen from a different variety of the same type of tree and are considered self-unfruitful. The transfer of pollen from one variety to a different variety of the same type of tree is called cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is possible only when varieties bloom at approximately the same time. Length of bloom is usually 7 to 15 days. Early bloomers should be planted with early or midseason bloomers and late bloomers with late and midseason bloomers. Cross-pollination is essential for apples, pears, most sweet cherries, and most Japanese plums. Cross-pollination is not essential for apricots, European plums/prunes, tart cherries, peaches and nectarines, but does improve the number of fruits that form on these types of trees. Pollen is primarily transferred by honeybees. The ideal distance between cross-pollinating trees is within 50 feet; trees placed more than 100 feet away may result in poor pollination. Bees work best when temperatures are above 65℉. Cool weather, rain or winds may prevent bees from leaving their hives. Most pesticides are toxic to bees and should not be used during bloom time.