25. April 2020

Pollinating Peach, Apricot and Nectarines

The fruit trees that flower early might need some help with the pollination. Pollinating peach, apricot and nectarine in my garden is one of my favorite tasks in spring. This is how you do it!

En kvist med starkt rosa blommor. Pollinating peach, pink flowers

I'm pollinating peach and nectarine trees at home. This little nectarine has plenty of beautiful little pink flowers by now!

 

We are going to have really nice weather here in southern Sweden these coming days. That means that my stone fruit trees in the polytunnel might just bloom! I have two apricot trees, a nectarine and three peach trees in there. You can find more content about them here on my blog, just use the search bar or click on one of the links in this post!

 

More about stone fruit: My 4 favorite peach varieties

 

En närbild på rosa persikoblommor.

My peach tree Riga, growing outside. I have to wait a bit longer for the trees outside to develop flowers.

 

Ett litet träd blommar med rosa blommor i motljus.

My peach tree outside usually starts developing flowers in April.

 

I also have another four potted peach and nectarine varieties in an outhouse by my little cottage on Oak Hill. They are in a much cooler spot though and will take a while to bloom.

It doesn't matter if you grow your peaches, nectarines and apricots in a greenhouse or indoors. They might still need help with the pollination. Perhaps they bloom so early that the pollinating insects just won't be ready in time. And even if they are, they might not find their way into your polytunnel or greenhouse. That's why you want to start pollinating peach and other stone fruit trees yourself!

 

How to pollinate

The insects buzz around from flower to flower, and are in doing so very good at transporting pollen. If you look at a bee up close for example, you can see that it's covered in yellow dust. It almost looks like a little makeup brush, that's how effectively it absorbs the particles.

What to do when there are no insects though? Well, you simply mimic what they do! Use a little paintbrush or similar and go from flower to flower, carefully touching the inside. You want the pollen to reach the sticky tip of the pistil, called a stigma.

If you don't have a brush, you can just use your pinky to pollinate the flowers. Just be careful while touching them though!

The insects usually take care of the pollination outdoors, but I try to go over the flowers outside with my brush once or twice anyway. Just to be sure.

 

More about sweets from the garden: How to grow honeyberries

 

Ett träd med kala grenar och vita blommor.

My little Ice Peach tree develops beautiful light pink flowers in March/April.

 

Skyar av rosa blommor på kompakta kvistar.

This nectarine looks like a little work of art. It won't develop fruits from all the flowers though, so I need to thin them out. I planted this tree/bush in 2017.

 

Sensitive to the cold

The flowering period can generally be quite short, just a few days. And both the flowers and the first little fruits are very sensitive to frost. If the temperature drops to freezing during this period, the flowers will most likely fall off. Just like the little fruits that look a bit like tiny green olives.

Try to use row cover on your trees when you expect chilly temperatures.

 

Ett litet träd i ett växthus, bakom stora tråg med små gröna plantor.

My first summer after planting the little tree Ice Peach. I got over 40 peaches and was just so thrilled! All of it simply because I started pollinating peach myself.

 

So, don't forget to help your stone fruit trees out a little when it's flowering time. I just love taking a moment to enjoy the beautiful trees and at the same time, help them with the pollinating. While dreaming about future fruits of course! All of my unripe little fruits froze in May last year, which is why I'm so excited about getting a new chance now. I hope it's going to work. Good luck pollinating peach and other stone fruit trees at home!

/Sara Bäckmo

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