Pollination of fruit trees

on Friday, 27 September 2013. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees

Making sure your fruit trees are pollinated

change

Very quickly, just came across this useful little website.  Gives you a succinct rundown of pollination basics for fruit trees.  I learned that Pears are not all that attractive to bees so they need to be closer together to pollinate by wind.  And Bartlett Pears can pollinate Asian Pear trees.  So there you go!

Check it out:

http://www.grandpasorchard.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.showpage/pageID/19/index.htm

Bees and fruit trees

on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees, Classes

fruit trees not fruiting?

Has this happened to you?  Fruit trees with no fruit?!  We had a recent customer with this problem, despite him taking loving care of his fruit trees.  That is not only disappointing, but it's also telling us that something was not in balance.  Here is another example of how we affect the bees and how the bees are essential to our gardens and our existence.  Are YOU going to move the pollen from flower to flower?

asian-pear--closeupbee and echinacea

 

 

Our client wanted me to come visit his fruit tree garden because he was concerned he had no flowers or fruit on his fruit trees and he didn't usually see bees around his floriferous garden.  He was on the right track noticing there weren't any bees in his yard.   It was also strange that his fruit trees had the healthiest leaves I've even seen, not a brown or yellow spot, full and green, and lush.

 

 

Vegetable & All Purpose Mix 4-6-2 (6 Lb Box)So I started asking him what he fertilizes with and what kind of chemicals he sprays them with.  He showed me 5 different fertilizers that he applies to his trees!  Many of them were the ubiquitous Miracle-gro, which is best left, if at all, to the annuals.  Most of them were formulated for lush leaf growth and very heavy in nitrogen (the first number on the bottle).  This doesn't work for plants you want to make flowers and fruit, but explains his beautiful leaves.  Fruit trees want an application of lower nitrogen, balanced, ideally organic fertilizer.  Something that is formulated for fruiting crops.  So that would be heavier on the phosphorus and potassium (the last two numbers on the box). He also was applying the fertilizer way more often than even the bottle recommended.  Too much fertilizer can't all be taken up by the plant and just gets flushed out into waterways. Without going into too much detail, making the soil healthy will maintain a happier fruit tree, it will be able to uptake the nutrients that are there or that you apply. 

bee friendly farming

Then he showed me the insecticides he used on the trees.  After looking them over and reading all the warning labels about they can harm vertebrates such as frogs, I asked do you want to eat fruit that has this absorbed into it?  He hadn't really thought about it. Second, the insectides were to kill off caterpillars and other bugs that chewed into fruit trees leaves, but it also said right on the bottle, that is was toxic to bees.  So many of the insecticides are not specific and will kill anything feeding on the plant or even collecting its pollen.  So do we really wonder why the bees are collapsing?  If this man thought all these things were okay to apply to his garden, how many times over is it happening all over the world?  Time to think about your little corner or the planet and what you can do for our bee friends.

Help the bees

on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Deer resistant, Drought tolerant, Fruit trees, New Plants

Plants for beauty and bees

Most of you know, the bees need our help.  But we still get people coming to the nursery not wanting to get a plant with too many flowers so it doesn't attract the bees.

photoChilopsisLinearis200x301photoSalviaUltraViolet200x301

 

 

But a few recent headlines about dead bees and conversations with customers have gotten me thinking more about the bees and how we need to help them.  Here are some of my answers to that issue.  

beesOne, I understand if you are allergic to bee stings, there is a legitimate reason to be wary.  But after 8 years of working at the nursery, having my arms immersed in bee-laden plants day in, day out, I have never been stung.   The bees are way more interested in the flowers than you.  The yellow jackets and wasps are what to be more cautious of as well as where a nest is.  If the bees are gathering pollen, they are doing a service to us and the environment and need more flowering plants to keep them healthy and happy.  Check out this great local website I came across that is filled with interesting facts about bees and what we can do to support them and get kids excited about them.

www.beegirl.org

 

 

There are so many choices right now for bee attractant plants, come visit to get a first hand look.  The Teucrium chamaedrys, Echinacea, Lavender, Solidago, and Solidaster are loaded with bees carrying pollen to and fro.  Anything in the herb family keeps them happy.  And keep in mind having flowering plants throughout the season.  The Ericas in early spring waken the bees back to their busy duties and the Caryopteris and Agastache feed them into the fall. 

 echinacea at nursery

See the previous entry for what else we can do to help the bees.