Propagating and Pollinating Apple Trees
Apple Tree Propagation
Like most fruit trees, contemporary cultivation methods suggest that apples are ordinarily propagated asexually by grafting.
In the wild, apples grow from seeds. Seedling apples are an example of “extreme heterozygotes”. Rather than inheriting DNA from their parents to create a new apple with those characteristics, they are instead significantly different from their parents. This means that if we plant the seeds from 10 apples of exactly the same variety, all 10 apple trees that will be created will be significantly different and will give accordingly different fruits. Consequently, professional farmers choose grafted seedlings, in order to achieve product uniformity and quality. In a few words, professional apple growers benefit from an apple tree that is a combination of two different plant tissues, the rootstock and the scion. The rootstock is the lower part of the tree and produces the root system. Rootstock also determines the tree’s final height. The scion produces the upper part of the tree and of course determines fruit’s characteristics. Both the rootstock and the scion must be carefully selected and each one of them may result in poor production.
Apple Tree Pollination
Most of apple tree varieties are not self-fertile. This means that most apple trees need pollination partner trees of a different variety in order to set fruit. Even the self-fertile apple varieties are reported to produce higher yields when a pollination partner tree is planted at a close distance. The various commercial apple cultivars flower at different times, starting with Granny Smith and ending with Red Delicious. Apple growers must plant pollinating cultivars that are compatible and flower at closely the same time as the commercial cultivars. It is also important to place the pollinating cultivars at different spots of the orchard, so as to ensure adequate cross pollination.
Apple trees need bees at a great percentage in order to pollinate and produce fruits. In commercial apple farms, placing 3 beehives every 2,5 acres (or 1 hectare) of orchard has been found to be beneficial, if not necessary.
Read more about Pollination of apples by honey bees
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6.) Apple Tree Propagation and Pollination
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