Prairie gardening tip: How to improve pollination of fruit trees.

Proper siting is key!

If you plan to grow fruit trees and shrubs that are pollinated by insects such as bees, consider your site carefully before you plant. If you are thinking about putting the plants in a windy, exposed site, your plants may not receive their very best chances at pollination. Bees don’t like working in the wind! (It totally ruins their hairdos). Instead, choose a more sheltered location to encourage the bugs to do their jobs in calmer conditions.

Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) – site this small fruit tree or shrub out of the wind, if possible. Saskatoons are self-fertile, but there is the potential for higher yields of fruit if bees visit….

Do you grow any fruit trees or shrubs? I’d love to hear about them (it doesn’t matter if you live on the prairies or not!). What do you like best about them? Is there anything about them that you find challenging?


  1. Pollinators were not so obvious in some of the orchard of the Santa Clara Valley (decades ago). ‘Bing’ cherry orchards probably had more pollinators mixed in than anything else, but the pollinators looked very much like the ‘Bing’ trees. Date orchards in Southern California were quite different. Most of the trees are female clones. Male pollinators were arranged at intervals in the outer rows of small orchards, or arranged in a grid pattern within larger orchards. They were taller and scrawnier than the females, and looked rather goofy. They had their job though.

    • Yes, that’s so right! Definitely a consideration for many fruit-bearing trees: you have to have the correct ratio of pollinizers and where they are situated in an orchard truly matters for optimum production.

      I wish we could grow sweet cherries and dates here! 🙂

      • Sweet cherries, particularly ‘Bing’ were the main commodity in Sunnyvale decades ago, although no one remembers the tart cherries that were grown as pollinators. Some of the pollinators were other cultivars of sweet cherries. Dates are not so much fun. (Oh, that did not sound so nice.) One tree takes up a big area. Date palms were recycled into landscapes in the 1990s, as their orchards were displaced by urban sprawl around Las Vegas. Only the female trees were recycled, since they are naturally more appealing, and were ‘supposedly’ fruitless without the male pollinators. However, at one of the job sites where I worked, at a mall in Saratoga, many female trees made a bit of a mess with their fruit because there happened to be a male tree in a backyard in an adjacent neighborhood. It grew wild in an unkempt part of the property that the property owner was not at all concerned about. However, the property owner was sort of a jerk when asked if the tree could be removed. He moved away, the the new family who moved in had no problem with the removal of the tree.

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