Q. How close for cross pollinator?? I am looking to plant more fruit trees and was curious how close the pollinator needs to be?? My neighbor's have various fruit trees and I am about 1/2 mile from Gilcrease orchard. Is this close enough to be effective or should I plant my own??
A. I know this sounds like a cop out but it should be as close as possible. What this means is that the further away a pollenizer tree is, the less likely it will do its job. In orchards, pollenizers are in a neighboring row or in the same row with the trees needing pollination. Sometimes the pollenizer is one tree in a block of 8 to 10. Line of sight is important. If pollinators like honeybees can visit the flower needing pollenating in a “straight shot” it is best rather than turning a corner. But ½ mile is too far away to do any good at all.
As a rule of thumb honeybees will forage about two miles from the hive but as distance increases the likelihood a bee will visit your trees decrease. If you know where there is a pollenating tree for yours, take a “bouquet” of branches and put them in a vase of water at the base of the tree as the flowers are about to open. Delay pruning the pollenizer tree so that you can incorporate this technique as part of your management plan for your fruit trees. You can swap bouquets with your neighbor to improve fruit set.
Plant a pollenizer tree in the same hole, 18 inches apart, for the sole sake of providing a few flowers for pollination.