Gravenstein Apple cross pollination
If I plant two 2-year old gravenstein apple trees in my yard will they pollinate each other? I know they are early blooming apple trees and triploid apples. Do I need another apple tree like a crab apple so the blooms will get pollinated? My other apple trees bloom later. If I need another apple for pollination what type of apple do you recommend? I live in Brookings about 1/2 mile from the ocean and about 200-300' elevation.
We like cider,apple sauce and pie filling, especially cider. Sandy
Curry County Oregon
Thanks for contacting OSU Extension with your question about apple pollination. NO, your Gravenstein apples will not pollinate each other; two early bloomers that do pretty well here are both self-fertile, Chehalis and Spartan; one of those would help, but more apples for all your trees if you do get two other varieties. Prima, Orenco, and especially, Liberty, due to its disease resistance are later bloomers and should also work, but are later bloomers. Of course, availability of these trees may make the choices for you. Below is more info you may find of help or interest, including some crab apples that may work for you:
All varieties of apple trees require some cross-pollination for fruit set. Even though some varieties are listed as self-fruitful, they will set fruit more heavily and more regularly if they are cross-pollinated. Flowering crabapples have become popular pollen donors because they generally have longer bloom times than apples and are easily cared for.
Most apple cultivars can be cross-pollinated by crabapple trees. Manchurian crabapple is ideal for early-blooming cultivars, while Snowdrift crab blooms in mid- to late season. If you don't have actual crabapple trees planted in the ground, the University of Missouri Extension suggests you hang buckets of water filled with fresh, blooming crabapple branches in the branches of the flowering apple tree you wish to pollinate. The bees won't know the difference and will carry pollen from the crabapple blossoms to the tree.
Gravenstein" apples are among the early to mid-season trees, blooming when the weather begins to warm, from mid-spring to early summer. While most apple trees require a pollinizer, "Gravenstein" pollen is sterile. Two other varieties are necessary in a home orchard to ensure that all three trees produce fruit. Grafting a branch from a second variety onto the "Gravenstein" tree is one method of pollinating the tree's flowers in a small garden.
For Gravenstein apple trees, selecting a compatible pollinizer requires a tree that has a similar bloom time and chilling requirement. The second tree must be within fifty feet of the Gravenstein to allow the bees and hummingbirds to travel between the trees and pollinate the flowers. Among the pollinizers with similar growing requirements are the varieties "Anna," "Beverly Hills" and "Gala." Crabapple trees, which are self-pollinating, are also an option in a small garden. Among the suitable varieties are "Louisa," "Profusion" and "Spring Snow."