Does my Tree need a partner?

tree2As part of my garden project out in Sandy, I decided to plant grapes, kiwi, fig and blueberries. You would think a researcher would research the major buys that I did. Not this time, I had the idiot idea that the sticker at the nursery would tell me everything thing I needed to know. That was my mistake not to do my own homework. Thank God my wife stepped in and asked simple questions. Are you sure X,Y, Z does not need a counterpart. My lame reply was, “it didn’t say it on the sticker.”

I need to fill you in on what happened to us last year. My wife bought a Tomatillo plant, we watched as it turned into a beautiful plant. We watched as the flowers started to show, and kept watching the beautiful flowers. We asked ourselves why in the heck isn’t bearing fruit. My wife’s answer after researching it, “crap we needed another plant for cross pollination. “

Fast forward to last weekend, the lesson had not reached my noggin. We found out, and it wasn’t that bad of a mess up. Just need to do my homework before I get to crazy into buying plants. Hence, this is the reason for the article. Below will be a series of plants and short answer to if they need a partner.


Kiwi tree:  The type that I bought does require a male and female to produce fruit.

“Since kiwis don’t produce fruits and flowers on their own, they have to depend on pollination, particularly with the help of insects. Thus, you should never forget to plant both male and female vines.”  Kiwi-Fruit    

Fig tree:   Note there are two main types of Figs.  One is self producing and the other (in California) needs a wasp to pollinate it.

Figs are self-fertile, meaning they will produce a healthy crop of fruit even if you only have one tree. If you do plant several, keep them at least 10 feet apart. As for total space, the average fig tree will be around 15 to 20 feet tall and their canopy usually spreads out wider than that. They will severely shade anything around them, so plan your location accordingly.”

Blueberry:  I bought four plants, two of the same variety.  One variety was Blue crop and the other was Chandler.

Do I Need at Least Two Blueberry Plants in Order for Them to Survive?

“No. However two plants of a different variety which bloom partly at the same time will produce a larger number of berries. For example, an early- and a mid-ripening plant, or a mid- and a late-ripening plant growing near each other will maximize your yield.”

Grapes:  Grapes from what I can tell DO NOT require a second type to produce, but it is wise to know how to handle grapes if you get them.

Good resource about the different types:


Colorado State University gives the run down for the following trees:


“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.”

 Peach, Nectarine and Apricot

“The common varieties of nectarines and most peaches grown in Colorado are self-fruitful. Self-unfruitful varieties of peaches are J.H. Hale, Earlihale, Hal-Berta, Candoka and Mikado (June Elberta). Most other varieties of peaches will pollinate these self-unfruitful varieties.”

Sour and Sweet Cherry

“All sour cherries are self-fruitful, such as Montmorency, North Star, Balaton, Meteor, English Morello, Early Richmond, Hansen Bush Cherry and Nanking. Most sweet cherries are self-unfruitful(self-incompatible, SI) and require cross pollination with another variety as the pollen source.”


“Anjou and Bartlett are partially self-fruitful but should be cross-pollinated to produce heavy and regular Crops. Bartlett, Comice and Hardy may set large Crops of parthenocarpic fruit”


“Two of the most popular varieties of Japanese plum, Burbank and Abundance, are self-unfruitful but will pollinize each other. Because of bloom date differences, do not rely on European varieties to pollinize Japanese varieties.”

“Stanley and Damson are self-fruitful and will pollinize other European varieties. All other European plums require pollen from another European variety.”


J’s two cents of advice:

  • Research BEFORE you buy.  The above information is a quick research and should NOT be the only information you have on your trees.  Ask a respected nursery or garden department of the University for Help.
  • Plan, Plan, and then Plan some more.  How high will they get?  How wide will they get?  Will they get enough sun, drain well and so forth.
  • Buy now, enjoy later.  Most of the above items will not produce fruit for a year or two!!  If you think you’re going to start growing food, pick these up now.
  • You may save money buying off of Craigslist, but what are you really buying?

Do you have a website that is a good to go source?


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