[NAFEX] self fruitfulness
hangermayer at isp.com
Tue Nov 18 10:47:04 EST 2008
Alan and Scott,
I also think there is something to what your saying I don't know about pears or plums, but I occasionally hear folks on the list talk about pollination problems with peaches. Since most peaches will pollinate some fruit even with caged flowers, it's probably not a pollination problem. I've noticed the folks having trouble with peach fruit set are mostly in northern areas. Areas not necessarily with cold winters, but at least cool springs. This year we had an unusually cool spring for this area. I noticed the peach flowers, even after petal fall, started drying up, looking like they weren't fertilized. You can watch an unfertilized flower. It just slowly dries up and falls off. This spring all the peach flowers looked like they were at the beginning of that stage, and some were already falling off. Then we finally got some warm weather and the flowers plumped back up. I know there has been a lot of research on exactly how much cold various flowers can take, and still survive, but I wonder how much research has been done with prolonged cool weather (two or three weeks) and it's affect on fruit set. The pollinators always get blamed for poor fruit set when the weather is cool, what if it's the flower's fault?
----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Haigh
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 6:29 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] self fruitfulness
I have read and seen evidence of the tendency of some pears and apricots to be fruitful without the benefit of cross pollination on years when the spring weather is accommodating or in regions where the springs are aways mild. Childers wrote in his book, "Modern Fruit Science", that in southern California Bartlett pears used to be grown commercially without the benefit of a second variety for pollination. Some of the cold-hardy varieties of apricots we grow in the northeast such as Hargrand and others from the Harrow program require cross pollination to bear consistently when grown here but apparently not when grown in warmer climates.
In the case of pears, this production is parthenocarpic (without seeds) and can occur for some varieties including Comice, Bartlett and Hardy when temperatures between 70 and 85 d. F. occur during bloom. I have no information about the parameters of apricot self-fruitfulness but the fruit that occurs from self-pollination definitely has seeds. When I first started planting the Harrow series, Adams County Nursery touted them as self-fertile but my experience was different. They now say cross-pollination is helpful. I wonder if the variability is weather related.
In the case of hybrid plum pollination I wonder if the contradictory experiences may be weather related as is the case with pears and apparently apricots.
Alan Haigh, the Home Orchard Co.
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