How to Help Your Apple Tree Pollinate

What You'll Need
Pollen Grain Mixture
Pencil Eraser (to use as an applicator tool)

In order for a lot of foods to pollinate, it is important for bees to be around. An entire apple orchard can be pollinated by 2 honey bee hives alone. There is not a big bee population these days anymore as insecticides and pollutants are decreasing their population. In the bees’ absence, farmers are looking for other ways to still pollinate their crops and plants. Bee hives can be rented when there are available. Apples are not able to grow without the fruit trees being pollinated. There are methods you can use to help pollinate your apple tree in the absence of bees. 

Step 1 – Trying the Bee Method

Try to find ways that will encourage bees, flies or wasps to live near your apple trees. Butterflies, bats and birds are also able to pollinate.

Step 2 – Try to Self Pollinate

Instead of cross pollinating trees, just try to choose the self pollinating method. In order for an apple tree to even cross pollinate, they will need another kind of apple or crab apple tree nearby for fruit to bear. You are able to purchase apple trees with a different type of branch grafted to it. The branches in these trees are self pollinating and cause the trees to bear fruit.

Step 3 – Hand Pollinating

In order to hand pollinate your trees, you will need quite a few people to help you. You will at least need anywhere from 20 to 25 people to pollinate the apple tree in a day. The anthers are pulled from the flowers when they are partially open. They are then spread in the sun to dry for a few days until the grains of pollen are released. The grains of pollen are stored in a dry and cool space where they become very powdery, but they must be used within 3 days. You can mix the grains of pollen with either skim milk powder or a little bit of white flower. In a 2 day period when the flowers opens up, the pollen grain mixture can be applied to the flowers. You can use the pencil eraser to apply this mixture. In order to ensure the late flowers are pollinated, this will need to be done at least 3 times per season.

Step 4 – Factor in the Wind

If you have apple trees that are close to each other, you can depend on the wind for some pollination. The wind plays a part in pollinating apple trees. 

Step 5 – Use a Pollination Spray Machine

Although hand pollination is more effective, you can try to do battery machine pollination or spray machine pollination. It does not require as much labor as hand pollination does.