Crabapples – Pollinating Regular Apple Trees

Q: I have read that planting crabapples with regular apple trees will insure better pollination. If this is so, how close should you plant them and what types of crabapples should I use?

A: Your information is correct. Apples are considered “self infertile”. They require pollen from another apple variety in order to set fruit. The problem is that apple trees don’t produce a huge amount of pollen. Crabapple trees, however, DO produce lots of pollen and can be used to increase fruit set. Twenty percent of your orchard should be crabapple varieties such as ‘Donald Wyman’, ‘Dolgo’ or ‘Profusion’. Space them at the same spacing as your regular apple varieties and scatter them throughout your orchard. Since honeybees are essential for good pollination you also need one or two bee hives.

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