Fruit fer­til­ity sense

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

UN­DER­STAND­ING pol­li­na­tion is use­ful when you’re buy­ing a new fruit tree, cane or bush. With­out suc­cess­ful pol­li­na­tion, the flow­ers won’t turn into har­vestable fruit! Some fruit crops have sim­ple pol­li­na­tion re­quire­ments, while oth­ers are more com­plex.

Cane fruits (rasp­ber­ries and black­ber­ries), bush fruits (cur­rants and goose­ber­ries), plus figs, grapes, straw­ber­ries, peaches, nec­tarines and apri­cots are ‘self-fer­tile’. This means they’ll set a crop by them­selves: just plant, wa­ter and wait for the har­vests.

Other tree fruits such as ap­ples, pears, cher­ries, plums and gages are termed ‘self-in­fer­tile’, which means they need to be planted along­side an­other suit­able tree for pol­li­na­tion to hap­pen and fruit to set; blue­ber­ries will also set a larger num­ber of fruits per bush if you grow more than one va­ri­ety to­gether. An ap­ple won’t pol­li­nate a pear, but one ap­ple va­ri­ety will pol­li­nate a dif­fer­ent ap­ple va­ri­ety; you must choose at least two va­ri­eties of the same crop. Those va­ri­eties must flower at the same time for pol­li­na­tion to oc­cur. Th­ese crops are di­vided into flow­er­ing groups to en­sure they’ll be blooming si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

Cherry trees of­ten need an ex­tra va­ri­ety nearby, but a goose­berry bush will set a crop on its own

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