Apple Tree "Emergency" Pollination measures

flying_fishJuly 31, 2014


My grandmother unwittingly cut down her crab-apple tree, not knowing that it was needed to pollinate her edible apple tree.

Are there any "quick" solutions to solve this? I thought about planting another apple tree...but would a young apple tree from a nursery produce enough blooms to pollinate the established tree?

My grandma is getting old and I want to see her continue to enjoy her apple tree while she's still around and healthy :). Hence wanting a "quick" solution

I do not know the apple variety that she has (I don't think she knows either) but it is a red-green tart apple. I will try to get some information on bloom time.


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Buying a potted tree in bloom will do it. You can graft other apple varieties onto that tree, but depending on the tree it would be 2 years or more before those would bloom.

Another option would be this: when her tree is in bloom find a crabapple in bloom and cut off a branch and hang it in her tree. I would do that a few times. Find a tree that needs some pruning and do it for free, just do a nice job.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:44AM
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How did she cut it down? If she just chainsawed it above ground level and called it done, the tree will probably grow back.

I had trees cut flush with the ground when I bought my first house almost 20 years ago. For the first few years they sent up suckers which I mowed when I mowed the lawn. Eventually I decided to let a sucker grow from each and eventually discovered that they were apple trees.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:11PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

A young apple tree that is on super dwarfing rootstock that makes it more precocious will bloom next spring. Maybe someone here can give advice on what is a super precocious apple.

If the tree was cut down to the ground then you will only have rootstock suckers coming up. Depending on what kind they are they might not bloom next year or even the year after that.

I solved this problem with a pear tree by buying a bare root tree and potting it up and putting it underneath the mature tree. This worked great. Having coinciding blooms with the mature apple is the key.

I find it hard to believe that there are not other crab apples anywhere near that would be able to pollinate the tree. When was the crab apple tree removed and what is the crop like on the tree for this year?

There are so many crab-apples around here that pollination would not be a problem. Look around near her house and try to spot another apple tree close by.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Thanks for the responses! I should mention that I do not know much about fruit trees, only what I've started to learn via Google over the last couple weeks and what I'm taking in from you guys.

I just talked to my mom and got a little more detail. The crabapple tree was cut down after bloom, so I assume its absence would not affect this year's apples. Not sure if it was cut above or below the graft. My Grandma said the tree didn't look healthy, but then again she may have just been tired of picking up crab apples from the lawn! Next time I'm up at her house I'll look around and see if anyone nearby has crab apple trees. As it happens I found a great deal on some granny smith trees (dwarf rootstocks), so maybe I'll plant one of them in my Grandma's yard. The good news is that I have plenty of time to come up with something if I need to for next year.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:25PM
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If you haven't yet bought the Granny Smiths, now is not a good time of year to buy fruit trees.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:53AM
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