Pol­li­nat­ing part­ners

Amateur Gardening - - Pick Of The Very Best -

a fea­ture of crab ap­ples that’s of­ten over­looked is their role in pol­li­nat­ing eat­ing and cooking ap­ples.

To set a good crop, most eaters and cook­ers need to be pol­li­nated with pollen from a dif­fer­ent va­ri­ety that flow­ers at the same time. Crab ap­ples, mean­while, not only need no pol­li­na­tor them­selves, but also flower for much longer than culi­nary ap­ples and can pro­duce up to 10 times as much pollen. So your crab ap­ple tree (or that of your neigh­bour) will pol­li­nate most of your culi­nary ap­ples. In fact, some com­mer­cial fruit grow­ers plant a crab ap­ple at the end of each row of trees.

You may only need one crab to pol­li­nate all your culi­nary ap­ples. Even if you have a range of eaters and cook­ers, an early flow­er­ing crab such as ‘Laura’ or ‘Red Sen­tinel’, plus a late-flow­er­ing one such as ‘Comtesse de Paris’ or ‘Wed­ding Bou­quet’, should do the trick.

Crab ap­ples pro­duce more pollen than culi­nary ap­ples

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