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What Does It Mean to Be Self Pollinating?
Trees that are sold as self-pollinating are sometimes also called self-fertile or self-fruitful.
A self fertile fruit tree (or nut tree) does not require pollen from another tree to set a fruit or mast crop. Pollination, whether by wind, insects, birds, or other means, can occur between an anther–the male part of the flower–and a stigma–the female part of the flower–on the same tree or even the same flower.
Other fruit trees require cross-pollination, meaning they will need pollen from a tree of the same genus but a different species or cultivar. Crabapple trees work well as a pollinator for apple trees for this reason.f
Read more about Pollination in Fruit Trees.
How Do Self Pollinating Fruit Trees Work?
Self-pollinating fruit trees will flower in spring like any other tree, and indeed most need the services of pollinator insects and other animals to achieve fertilization. In the case of self-pollinating trees, pollen transferred from a flower on the same tree or even from different parts of the same flower can achieve pollination.
The fruits we are after are created by the tree as a means of transportation for the tree’s seeds, so we need the pollination to occur and the seed to form.
Since a second tree is not required for pollination, self-pollinating fruit trees can be an excellent choice for small yards where there may not be room for two trees. However, almost all self-pollinating fruit trees will set a bigger and better crop of fruit if they have a pollinator buddy.
If you don’t have space for a second variety yourself, look about your neighbors’ yards. They may have a suitable tree whose pollen you can “borrow,” and the two trees can be mutually beneficial.
Generally, to be effective as a pollinator buddy, the other tree must be less than 100 feet away, and the closer, the better.
Which Fruit Trees Are Self-Pollinating?
If in doubt, check before buying. Our customer service team should be able to provide that information on our website or live chat.
Best Self-Pollinating Fruit Trees
- Peaches. A summer favorite, peach trees can be found that are cold hardy to USDA zone 5. Choose from a wider variety of peaches than you could buy at the market, and enjoy a peach picked at the peak of ripeness.
- Sour cherries. Many sour cherry varieties are self-fertile and make a beautiful flowering tree. Sour cherries are excellent for baking into treats, like a sour cherry crisp.
- Persimmons. Ripening in October and November, persimmons are bright orange and tasty fall treats. Persimmons come in two types; astringent and non-astringent (sweet). Astringent persimmons are commonly used in baking and for dehydrating. Sweet persimmons are great to eat fresh or use in a salad.
- Figs. Sun-ripened figs are a real treat. Figs are also great trees to grow in containers and can be pruned to maintain a manageable size.
- Citrus trees. Many citrus varieties are self-pollinating and can be kept small and grown in containers. They make a striking deck or patio tree, but you may need to bring them inside for the winter.
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