We are smack dab in the middle of pollination season! The apricots, plums and peaches are in bloom and the apples and pears will be flowering soon. The process of pollination varies depending on what variety of stone fruit we are talking about. Peaches and apricots are self-fertile. This means that each flower contains male and female parts, and so the pollen only needs to be moved within each flower for pollination to occur. However, the flowers still require insects to move the pollen around, so the lush blooms are important to encourage the pollinators to visit.
Plums on the other hand, need to be cross pollinated by another variety of plum tree. In order for this to occur we plant every row of plum trees with “pollinator” trees mixed in, so that the bees will carry pollen between the two types of trees and pollinate each flower.
We think that this winter’s rains will create a crop of stone fruit that is larger and juicier than ever! That being said, we can’t win in all ways. Last weekend, two varieties of apricots were in full bloom and it rained, hard. The storm significantly damaged the flowers of one variety of apricots, and we’re concerned that we will have poor pollination in that block. The good news is, the rest of the apricots are blooming this week, it’s been clear and sunny, and we can see the bees all over the flowers.