Generally, apples are not self-fertile; use two varieties to be productive, and at least two varieties should be used in each apple planting to serve as a source of pollen for the varieties. Cross-pollination is possible only when varieties bloom at the same time. Length of bloom is usually 7 to 15 days. In an orchard planting, all trees should be within 100 feet of the pollinator tree. Wind does not carry pollen from one apple tree to another. Consequently, bees are indispensable in an orchard. Use one good hive per acre. Use of a dormant spray in early spring will aid in reducing insects and disease problems in apple trees. The bloom season in Montana recommends apple varieties as follows:
Beacon– Blooms early and ripens in summer. It is a red apple with a fine flavor.
Centennial– Blooms early and ripens in summer-fall. It is a red-orange apple used for eating and cooking.
Chestnut Crabapple– Blooms early, ripens in summer-fall. It is bronze red and is used for eating and cooking.
Goodland– Blooms mid-season, ripens in the fall, used for eating and cooking.
Haralred, dwarf– Blooms late, ripens in the fall, and is used for eating and cooking.
Haralred, semi-dwarf– Blooms late, ripens in fall-winter, used for cooking and eating.
Haralred, standard– Blooms late, ripens in fall-winter, used for eating and cooking.
Haralson– Blooms late, ripens in winter, used for eating and keeps well.
Hazen– Blooms early, ripens in summer, used for dessert cooking.
Heyer– Blooms early, ripens in summer, used for cooking, preserves; pick before mature.
Honeygold– Blooms mid-season, ripens in winter, used for dessert cooking.
Mantet, semi-dwarf– Blooms early, ripens in summer, an excellent all-purpose apple.
Red McIntosh– Blooms mid-season, ripens in fall-winter, used for eating.
Red Duchess– Blooms early, ripens in summer, used for sauces and pies.
Red Prairie Spy, semi-dwarf– Blooms mid-season, ripens in fall-winter, all purpose.
Red Prairie Spy, standard– Blooms mid-season, ripens fall-winter. All purpose apple.
Red Wealthy, semi-dwarf– Blooms early, ripens in fall, used for eating and cooking.
Red Wealthy, standard– Blooms early, ripens in fall, used for eating and cooking.
Sweet Sixteen, standard– Blooms mid-season, ripens in fall, used for dessert, pies and sauces.
Wolf River– Blooms late, ripens in fall, used for sauces and pies.
Many apricots are self fertile. In colder regions, it is usually best to plant a second variety for pollination to encourage the heaviest fruit set possible. Frost damage may remove many of the young fruits.
Moongold, dwarf– Light orange color with a sweet flavor. Good for sauce and jam. Blooms third week of April, ripens late July. Must be planted with dwarf “Sungold” for pollination.
Scout-dwarf– Thin skin and tender yellow flesh. Flowers in April, ripens in August. Good for canning and jam, fair for eating.
Sungold-dwarf– Bright, clear gold fruit. Flavor is mild and sweet, eating quality is good, sauce fair to good, jam excellent. Upright growing habit. Blooms third week of April, ripens early August. Freestone. Must be planted with dwarf “Moongold” for pollination.
Blueberries are self-fertile, but you will have better fruiting with two or more.
Northcountry– Recommended for home gardens in northern regions. Fruit is 1/2″ diameter with an attractive sky-blue color. Flavor is sweet and mild. Fruiting will occur in late summer for 2-3 weeks.
Northblue– A very productive plant producing three to seven pounds of fruit on established plants with medium to large berries. Excellent flavor.
Mesabi– Medium growing 15 to 20 feet, hardy, likes sun. Long stemmed red-fleshed fruits with sugar content halfway between pie cherries and Bing cherries. Blooms mid-May, ripens mid-July.
Meteor– Slow growing eight to ten feet, hardy, likes sun. Large, bright red fruit. Mildly acidic flavor. Fine for sauce or pie. Blooms mid-May, ripens early July.
Northstar– Slow growing, eight to ten feet, hardy, likes sun. Large red fruit with a small stone. Very productive. A sour pie cherry. Flowers mid-May, ripens late June. Very decorative!
Most of the following plum varieties, unless self-fertile, are crosses between Japanese and American plums. While this creates hardy and delicious fruit, it also creates a nearly sterile tree. Unlike apples, just having two different plum varieties flowering simultaneously will not ensure proper cross pollinization. Use Toka or native Prunus Americana as a pollinator for plums. Use Compass as a pollinator for cherry plums. European or prune type plums are generally self-fertile.
Alderman Plum– Noted for excellent quality and large size. Bears fruit second season after planting. Ripens mid-August. Flesh is cling-stone, yellow, medium soft, sweet and slightly astringent. Excellent fresh or in preserves. Flowers are profuse, white, and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Toka is a good pollinator.
Mt. Royal Plum– A bright blue to purple Italian-type plum that tastes good when eaten off the tree. Fruit is round with juicy, firm, sweet flesh. A favorite for desserts and is excellent for making jams and preserves. Partially self-fertile. Ripens July to August.
Pembina– Red, good dessert plum. Large size, pointed fruit. yellow flesh, sweet and juicy. Ripens in August.
Toka– Good pollinator and a hardy plum for northern climates. Beautiful apricot color. Flesh is firm with a spicy flavor. Ripens mid-August.
Compass– Red pollinator. Early bearing cross that yields fruit the second season after planting. Ripens late July, cling-stone.
Red Diamond– New, more dwarf. Hardy, disease and insect resistant. Reddish purple. Flesh is thick, sweet and smooth textured.
Most pears are self-sterile, thus 20%-50% of the trees should be pollinators. Most pears that bloom at the same time are suitable pollinators. Most pears that bloom at the same time are suitable pollinators. With small amounts of nectar and low sugar content, pears require more pollinators and bees than any other fruit.
Gourmet– Fruit is greenish-yellow to yellow. Skin is thick but tender. Flesh is yellowish, crisp, juicy and sweet. A good dessert pear. Blooms in early May and ripens mid-September.
Luscious- Juicy, sweet, medium to small bright yellow fruit. Tree is global shaped. Glossy green foliage, red fall color. Blooms in early May and ripens mid-September.
Parker- Large, yellow bronze fruit that is fine grained, tender and juicy. Blooms in early May and ripens in mid-September.
Ure– Fruit is greenish yellow and very juicy, good for eating and canning. It is approximately two inches in diameter and has sturdy branching. Blooms in early May and ripens in mid-September.
Small Fruits, Sour Cherries and Peaches
Are All self-fertile, requiring no cross-pollination.