Hand pollinating greenhouse pluot 2013

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXMarch 25, 2013

I hand pollinated with a small artist brush in my greenhouse. There were no bees so it was me or air movement for pollination. And I think wind is very ineffective on pluot.

In general I was very pleased with the resulting fruit set on pluot.

I got a much better set on Flavor Supreme (like 5-10 times more) than given by bumblebees. I actually had to thin off some fruit and probably should thin more. This variety is a strong setter if it gets pollinated. The bees just aren't attracted to the flowers IME.

There was adequate set on other light setting cultivars (Flavor King and Flavor Treat) so as to provide a full crop. I worked these the hardest and got just about what the bees usually give. I'll only need to thin a few clusters of fruit which is normal for Flavor King. With bees in the past Flavor Treat sets at most double a full crop.

On the known heavy setters ( Flavor Grenade, Flavor Finale, Emerald Drop, Splash, and Geo Pride) I was able to limit set to about 200% of desired level. This saved quite a bit of thinning effort especially on Flavor Grenade which typically requires about 80-90% removal.

Other pluot that look like heavy setting varieties are Flavor Royale, Crimson Royale, and Honey Punch. These set about 2-3 times what I wanted after working them quite heavily. I wasn't real sure how much effort was required on these. But next year I can back off to reduce thinning rquirement.

I underset Burgundy plum a bit because I was thinking it might set without my help. Not so if you want fruit it'll need some help.

Ruby Kat set poorly because of a failure of the flowers to open properly. Not sure of the issue here maybe too dry???

Sweet Treat pluerry set a couple fruit with little effort and after others were done. I think it will probably fall into the heavy setting group.

None of these varieties appear to set by themselves with no help. I thought maybe Flavor Grenade would. But even there flowers that didn't receive pollen from another variety didn't set. Flavor Grenade could be self fruitful but if so it still needs help getting it's pollen onto it's stigma.

All in all an interesting exercise. I spent more time pollinating than I saved by not oversetting, but there was some reduction in thinning time compared to bees.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 22:36

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Who say's we need bees,..great for you!

>> Flavor Grenade could be self fruitful but if so it still needs help getting it's pollen onto it's stigma. A air hose with some good blast's might work also.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:31PM
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It's just starting to get warm here,with the temperature approaching 60F.I have a Nectarine that is in full bloom,but have only seen a few bees around.
Will it help for me to use a brush on the flowers or does the wind usually do a good enough job on them? Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:35PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Peach and nectarine are wind pollinated. They should do fine on there own outdoors. But in my greenhouse where wind speeds never exceed 1 mph, a light spray of water, real light, once a day seems to improve fruit set.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:57PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Very good information, fruitnut. Interesting to compare notes. Waiting to see what my fruit set will be for all my pluots - still all in bloom. But, looking like Flavor Finale will set well this year. Still a wee bit early to tell with Flavor King. Cot-n-Candy still a disappointment - 2 or two blossoms this year and I can't find any fruit from those two flowers. My Sweet Treat pluerries had lots of blossoms, but the Burgundy plum I planted was way, way behind, so sadly, no fruit set this year, I was SO sad. Really wanted to try the fruit this season, bummer. But, really glad. But, my Autumn Glo apricot looks to have about 20 fruits this year (planted last bare root season), and even my Flavor Delight, planted pretty late last year looks to have a few fruits. Same with the Goldkist. Across the board for me, apricots and especially apriums are slow to produce and not the best setters. Same with the Bellagold peacotum as well as the Desert Delight nectarine, all for various different reasons. Cherries look good, though. I should get about 80% set from blossoms on both Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. The other cherries are now just starting to bloom, so we'll see how they do, it will be their first season, so not holding my breath. Peaches and nectarines are off the chart, and taking me hours to thin.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:31AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)


How would you suggest polinating a WhiteGold cherry (supposed to be self-fertile) indoors? Is anything needed? Tapping the tree a bit each day? A paintbrush?

I brought one of my potted trees in a few weeks ago and have kept it in a south facing window. I'm interested to see how it produces indoors (not as good as a greenhouse, I know...).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:33AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a


I just wanted to say thanks for being here. I'm fairly new here, and looking at old threads, you have really helped me out so much by what you have posted. You saved me much heartache by not making a lot of newbie mistakes. I'm sure I will make some, though I avoided a lot thanks to you! It's interesting to read your observations. Nice to know what fruit might needs a little help. Which are heavy setters etc, thanks again! I'm in a different environment, and all, but it is still useful to know

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:01AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


That will be an interesting experiment. Let us know what happens. It's nice to see healthy fully formed blossoms that come with adequate chilling, my goal next year ;-)!!!

I'm not sure if a self fertile cherry will set indoors with no help. What I'd do is transfer the pollen around with a small brush. That might not be necessary. They might set with no help at all. They might set with vibration or with a spritzing of water once a day. But using a brush is likely the surefire method.


Thanks for the feedback. Have you kept abreast of the high tunnel work at MSU? interesting stuff.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:19AM
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I think that could be fun on small trees. One year the bees were ignoring my Mariposa plum and I had to use a ladder to get around to all the blossoms. I did it twice a day every day and got a decent amount of plums but I got tired of moving the ladder after a few days and had a hard time remembering which blossoms I already visited. How do the bees remember? Finally I worked my way up each branch from the lowest flowers and tied a little ribbon on the completed ones. I gave up on the uppermost ones after a while.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 12:17AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"Have you kept abreast of the high tunnel work at MSU? interesting stuff."

No, but I will look into it! I did read about high tunnel work in NY.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 12:47AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

My pluots just got pulled out of the garage today...doubt they bloom for at least another 2 or 3 weeks at the earliest...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 1:00AM
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