Which Apple Trees Pollinate?

Apple trees are not self-fruiting and require cross-pollination from a second cultivar of either apple or crabapple in order to produce fruit harvests. The trick is to choose apple tree cultivars that bloom at the time to allow bees, insects and birds to help carry out pollination between the two tree cultivars. Apple trees that bloom simultaneously should be planted within a 50-foot radius from one another, and apple trees that overlap but are not identical in bloom should be planted closer, at 20 feet.

Early to Mid-Season Blooming Apple Trees

Pair any two or more of the following early to mid-season blooming apple varietals whose bloom periods have significant overlap, in order from early to mid-season bloom: Idared, Manchurian, Liberty, Empire, Honeycrisp, Jonafree, Akane, Redtree, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious or Winter Banana.

Mid- to Late-Season Blooming Apple Trees

Pair two or more of the following mid to late season apple tree cultivars that have signficant overlap of bloom period, from earliest to latest including: Idared, Manchurian, Liberty, Empire, Honeycrisp, Jonafree, Akane, Redtree, Johnathan, Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious or Winter Banana, Snowdrift Crab, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn, Pristine, York, Enterprise, Gold Rush or Rome.

Cultivar Pairings to Avoid

Avoid planting apple cultivars that have sterile pollen as they will not be able to pollinate any other tree. These include Winesap, Stayman, Mutsu and Jonagold.

Keywords: pollinating apple trees, best apple trees for cross pollination, selecting apple trees

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.