Can apple trees successfully cross pollinate between varieties?

Asked April 27, 2015, 11:22 AM EDT

Can apple trees successfully cross pollinate between varieties? For example, if I have one each of a honey crisp, zestar, and prairie fire crabapple in my yard, will they all be able to set their own specific variety of fruit? Or do I need two of each variety?

Ramsey County Minnesota home apple production apple pollination

1 Response

Yes, since they are all in the same genus Malus, and bloom more or less around the same time. Especially if they are within 50 feet of the crabapple, you should be fine and do not need two trees of the same variety for pollination purposes. (Without the crabapple tree in the mix, you might have a little poorer result since Zestar is an early bloomer while Honey Crisp blooms mid-season.) Each tree variety will produce its own characteristic fruit regardless of the pollinator.

Here are some links to some detailed information from the University of Minnesota on apple trees: