Cherimoya hand pollination: is it almost time?

newgen(9 Central California)June 7, 2011

This tree has been in the ground for a little over 2 years, last year it had lots of flowers, but I didn't do anything, I wanted to just let the tree grow without worrying about fruits. This year, I'm starting to see flowers, not as much (yet) as last year's. I'm wondering if the tree is mature enough to sustain fruits. If so, I'll get ready to do the hand pollination. From the photos, it seems that the flowers are still too small, none has opened yet. The height of the tree is about 6'.

Thanks,

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RodneyJS

Try pollinating just a few every week. The tree seems big enough to hold a few fruits

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 12:12PM
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andrew78(6)

Hi Newgen,
My tree is still quite small. I have a grafted Fino de Jete variety. I noticed that even when I did pollinate, the flowers just shrivled up and dropped. If the tree isn't ready to support fruit, I don't think your pollination will be successfull, though I am still a newbie to the annonas.
Good luck and keep us posted!

Andrew

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 8:43PM
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tagtail

I got three fruits from my 2nd year tree a couple years ago (but borrowed male flowers from a neighbor's tree that time).

Last year I got about 15 fruits from it.

Doing the hand pollination now this year.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 6:45PM
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red_sea_me

Consider this as your learning time, practice collecting and dispensing the pollen. If you are lucky you will get some fruit set if not you have some practice for next time. If all the blooms set fruit, you can go back later and thin them out.

make sure you dress up like a bee, it helps get a higher % of fruit set.

-Ethan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:34AM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Actually...no need to dress up like a bee.....humming at just the right frequency does the trick.

Harry

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:06AM
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newgen(9 Central California)

No bee suit, and I can't sing/hum/whistle, so I'll just have to do it without the fanfare. 8-))

Anyways, I tried it this afternoon, but I'm not at all sure that I was doing it correctly. I read the post on Cloudforest, as well as watched the youtube video. So I thought I knew what to look for.

From my (mis)understanding of the video and the CF thread, if the flower is really open it's at the male stage, good for collecting pollen. If the flower is only slightly open, then it's at the female stage. Is that correct???

I tapped the "male" flower several times, nothing fell out that I could see, so I stuck the end of the artist's brush in there and gently moved it around, nothing fell out. Wanting to see what's inside, I sacrificed a "male" flower. I removed it from the tree, tore off the 3 petals, saw the round part in the middle, and was able to dislodge the anthers around that round part. The anthers fell into my plastic cup.

I then rubbed the bristles around and into the anthers in the cup, hoping to pick up some pollen. Then I stuck the brush into the "female" flower.

How come I didn't see the pollen falling into the cup? The cup is dark green, pollen is supposed to be light colored.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 12:27AM
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RodneyJS

The pollen is white, so using a black salsa cup from El Pollo Loco/Rubio's/Baja Fresh will help contrast with the pollen. Plus they're free

Anthers are, if I remember, yellow-brown.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 1:52PM
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red_sea_me

Usually for me I try to collect the pollen in the afternoon (3-5pm?), if the flowers sit too long the pollen dries up. I try to pollenate the females in the morning (9-10am?). I still have a lot to learn though. One way to collect the anthers and subsequently pollen it to pull one of the petals off the male stage flower while holding your cup/photo canister/etc. underneath. Then using your brush to collect any remaining anthers. A friend who has been doing it for a while removes one of the female petals when he is pollenating to allow easier access and keeps track of which have and have not been pollenated yet.

Eggo did an excellent job outlining how to pollenate your plants.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/tropical/msg0701052322783.html

BTW, smell your female flowers, they smell great and might help you figure out female pollenating times?

good luck,
-Ethan

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 2:05PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Thanks Ethan and Rodney,

Yeah I did smell the flowers, great fragrance. Did I label the flowers correctly in the photos above? I suspect that the male flowers were already dry, that's why I didn't see any pollen falling into the cup. However, some pollen still should've been present on the anthers that fell into the cup. Since I rubbed the brush on these anthers, then rubbed the brush into the female flowers, that should've done it. But who knows. I'll try again over the next few days as more flowers open up.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 3:32PM
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tagtail

That flower is still in its female stage. Wait until the petals are fully open.

If you have time, check one flower every 2 or 3 hours and then you will get the feeling.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 5:10PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Thanks tagtail,

After looking at them more, I understand now what stage each flower is. The male stage is fully open, all my photos show female stage.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 5:36PM
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jun_(8b-9a)

the first time I tried, the male flower "petals" were already brown. But it was the only flower I had and it had a few pollen thingies left, so I used a small brush and transferred it directly to the female flower, ie. I didn't store the pollen first. It worked.

(I'm referring to my sugar apples, but I'm sure Cherimoyas are not much different)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:45PM
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wizzard419

I'm growing that as well (I have the El Bumpo cultivar) and last year I got a few fruit to set for the first time and they grew a little but about midway through summer they just stopped growing, got soft and fell off the tree.

Any idea on what caused that?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:30PM
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enocchen

Hi, everyone, I am also doing this hand pollination sine one week ago. I've found the timing is just great to me this year, I am doing this right after I get home from work and it is about 6:30PM each day in southern California. So far, I have already 20~25 little baby fruits being formed. I like to share the pictures in 1-2 weeks, but I hope every Cherimoya growers do it now, if you haven't started it yet.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 7:35PM
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enocchen

Here I want to share 3 images of my recent hand pollination results. I did this from roughly the mid-July until now and there are more than 100+ fruitlets on this 8ft tall tree. Last year I let the nature to do the work and it ended out I had only 5 fruits. I am glad I am going many many cherimoya fruits to share with friends in next Spring.

Please see the following 3 images -


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:19PM
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red_sea_me

Wow Enocchen,
you couldn't have done a better job pollinating if you tried, that is a ton of fruitlets.

good luck w/the harvest,
-Ethan

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:58PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Well you are quite the potent cherimoya empregnator! Let's see.....5....or 100+ fruits??? OK....I go for choice number two. Great job!

Harry

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 7:27PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Looks like 100% success rate! Nice. I wonder if your tree is able to carry all those fruits to, um, fruition?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 6:56PM
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wizzard419

Hmmm I got sucessful fruit set, but I noticed that mine are always brown as they grow before growth stops. I think my tree might still be too young to bring them to term though.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 8:36PM
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jfernandez(10B)

Nice, I had some success with my brush....about 40 set on my Pierce and Booth. Also, 5 set on my Atemoya, hope they hold.




    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 10:42PM
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enocchen

After comparing the fruit and leaf shape. I believe my tree is Gefner Atemoya, not Cherimoya.
I was worried if my tree can carry 100+ fruits in the future, but now I am more excited than worried. So far all the fruitlets are doing great one the tree. I will make updated pictures in next season. If I can have 100+ fruits, I will definitely share those fruits to the members here because I have learned so much from you guys.

Thanks again,
Enoc

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 12:23PM
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pikorazi

jf & enocchen: great job guys! so far i just wanted to see how natural pollination would work in my place. i let the weed grow to host as many pollinating insects as posible (i don't use any chemicals) and and planted 5 chirimoyas very close to each other (3x fino de jete, 2x madeira), but the fruit setting has been very poor. so in 2012 i will not rely on the insects but do it myself. and i thinking, that maybe q-tips could be a better tool than a brush.. what do you think?

@newgen, any update?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 6:21AM
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newgen(9 Central California)

pikorazi: I have less than 10 fruitlets. I hope they will hold. I'm pretty excited just to see the success of my 1st pollination effort. A few of those fruitlets are on branches so small I don't see how they can support the weight.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 2:18PM
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enocchen

Hi,pikorazi,
You have a quite nice view from you yard. I bought my grafted Atemoya tree almost 4~5 years ago. I saw the flower buds growed and fallen each year just did not know why until I found eggo's hand pollination 2 years ago.
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/tropical/msg0701052322783.html
But I tried and I failed. It was so frustrated. So I gave it up and let the nature do the work last year and I just got 5 mature fruits in the beginning of this year.
At beginning of this summer (July), I tried hand pollination again and it turned out really successful. Yes, as Newgen said, I have almost 100% success rate. If you ask about my opinion on the whole process, I will say -
1) Use Eggo's tools (film canister and #2 or #3 brush). I think the fine bush will be better than Q-tip, because Q-tip might too big and not be able to reach to the end.
2) I collect pollen and do pollination at the same time period (late afternoon after work) because I have to go work really early. I collect pollen and anthers all together. Even I know that stigma has been pollinated, I still collect its polen and anthers. And I never discard them and just left them in canister. But the most important is to put the canister in refigerator for use next day.
3) I also applied some techniques from this fellow. It is a really interesting video. Now I know how my Atemoya got pollinated last year - it is fruit flies. But I hate fruit flies unless you have too many trees and you really don't have time to do the work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuSvo00gdYo

Now my job is to make sure my tree can hold all 100+ fruitlets until they become mature in next Spring. I already promised my colleagues to bring them atemoya fruits. BTW, I apply fish emulsion every 2~3 weeks to my tree.

pikorazi, I am not sure when you took this picture. You have a good sizes of trees. But I think they should have more leaves on all trees, does it mean they need more organic fertilizer ? Just my opinion.

~Enoc

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 2:38PM
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wizzard419

I'm wondering if the reason I'm not getting good results (fruit appears but doesn't grow very far) is becuase I'm pollinating at the wrong time? This is the first time I've seen people say to do it in July, I usually see people say springtime.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 2:56PM
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pikorazi

Enoc,

thank you for the input!

The picture was taken last April. That was the time my chirimoyas were coming out of dormancy..

Good luck with your fruit ;-)

Felipe

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:28AM
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wizzard419

I have a feeling I might have given up hope too soon on last years, or it might have still been too young. This year was looking like it was going to be another year where the fruit stopped developing after a short period, but now they are starting to grow again.

Is anyone else growing the el bumpo cultivar? The only photos I see of it are black and white sketches, but I notice my fruit isn't green like the other stuff photographed, it's brown/olive colored.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:33AM
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publickman

I noticed flowers on my tree yesterday, and I collected pollen this afternoon and store it in the fridge. I was unable to identify any female flowers at that time, but maybe they were there. Anyway, I will try pollinating in the morning and maybe collect fresh pollen if I see new male flowers in the morning. I can also try during my lunch hour.

I have a chico sapote tree, and I was unaware that I would need to self pollinate that. I haven't checked it for flowers and do not know what they are supposed to look like. It's a pretty good sized tree by now. I'm more concerned with getting cherimoya, however.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:20AM
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publickman

Here are some of the results of my hand pollinating. I only have about a dozen fruits on this tree, but I'm not sure it could handle much more, as it is spindly - it was like that when I got it. After I harvest the fruit, I will have to look into pruning it - not sure how to do that.

I still have not noticed flowers on my white sapote, but I usually forget to look. I'm also not sure how long it will take the cherimoya to mature, but the pollenation took place mostly in April - perhaps some as late as June - and then I lost interest, not knowing whether I had done it correctly. I think I had better results when I was able to collect pollen and use it right away, which generally meant that I had to force a flower open or remove a petal. I think some of the pollen I kept over night was still potent, however.

I have four small fruits on one lower branch - should I remove one of them?

Lars

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 6:07PM
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