Cross-pollination is when pollen from one plant is transferred to another with the help of insects (like bees and butterflies). Certain plants depend on this process to produce their edibles. Try growing the following trees together.
- Almond trees grow well in the Western Cape with a more Mediterranean climate. With the help of bees, two almond trees are required to pollinate one another. Grow then in full sun with plenty of organic matter added to the soil. Planting clovers and other legumes around trees will contribute to soil fertility and attract pollinators.
- Apple trees need a cross-variety pollination partner. You can ask for help from your garden centre assistant for advice on which varieties to grow together for the best results. Most apple trees will blossom in spring with fruit ripening in late summer to early autumn. Plant them in full sun with rich soil and feed with a fruit tree fertiliser.
- Papaya trees grow so easily from seeds in the compost heap. They will produce fruit when there is a male and female tree planted within a 3-metre proximity. The male (or even a hermaphrodite) can cross-pollinate the female. For best results, grow at least three trees together in full sun with nutrient-rich soil and good protection from frost.
- Avocado trees are definitely worth a little patience. Each tree is either type A or type B and needs to be pollinated from trees of the opposite type. Type A varieties are Hass, Pinkerton and Gwen. Type B varieties include Fuerte, Bacon and Zutano. Plant your trees six to nine metres apart with plenty of sunshine and well-draining, rich soil.
Cross-pollination increases yield and fruit quality.
Top tip: To attract more pollinators, plant lavender varieties, marigolds, and an assortment of seasonal herbs around your fruit tree beds. Allow your herbs to come to flower for max honeybee power!