Bumblebee on Flower
image by KimPouss (sxc.hu)
Pollination occurs naturally when bees visit flowers and flowering trees. Insects and the wind are also means of pollinating fruit trees for successful fruiting. For pollination of fruit trees to be successful, pollen from the stamen of a male flower must be transferred to the pistil of a female flower. When bees are scarce, pollinating by hand can increase fruit production. Pollinating fruit trees by hand requires knowledge of the parts of male and female flowers to ensure proper pollination.
Identify the male flower. The male flower can be recognized by the stamen--a tall, thin extension, called a filament, that comes from deep inside the flower and has a small tip on the end called an anther. The anther carries the pollen and can be located by looking for the part of the flower that is yellow from pollen.
Identify the female flower. The pistil of the female flower is a tube-like structure, resembling a wine flask, coming from deep inside the flower. At the bottom of the pistil is the ovary and extending up the pistil is the style. The stigma is at the top of the pistil. The sticky stigma catches the pollen, which is then incubated inside the ovary where it becomes fruit. The female flower will not produce fruit if the stigma does not receive pollen from the male flower. The female flower is often shorter on the stem than male flowers.
Brush the stamens of male flowers with a soft paintbrush to gather the pollen. Place the paintbrush very gently into a clean bucket. Find a female flower and brush the stigma with the pollen-caked paintbrush. Brushing the female flower gently will enable the stigma to catch the pollen. Gently continue brushing the female flowers with pollen until the paintbrush begins to lose its yellow color. Return to the male flowers and gather more pollen if necessary.