Cherry trees self pollinating

Dwarf fruit trees, self pollinating

Many varieties of dwarf cherries are available, and some are self-fruitful. Willamette valley growing conditions, however, are very adverse for peaches (even worse for apricots) making these among the most difficult fruits to grow in our areas.
Let’s break your question into several parts.
Dwarf fruit trees are MUCH easier to grow and care for than full size trees, for homeowners. Full size sweet cherries can grow well over 40 feet tall here, and as the edible fruit will be almost exclusively at the top, most of the crop becomes available only for birds. Cherries grafted to dwarfing rootstocks can produce identical fruit on much shorter trees. BUT you have to get the correct rootstock. Pick the wrong rootstock and you tree might be 85% of full size, and a 34 foot cherry tree is not going to be useful! For instance, cherries on Gisela 5, Gisela 3, or Newroot rootstock result in trees in the 6 to 12 foot range. It is absolutely critical that you know the exact rootstock used; purchasing trees as “dwarf” or “semi-dwarf” could result in trees of virtually any size.
It is frequently easier to find adequate / complete information for stock from “mail order” nurseries than for plants that you find in a walk-in garden center.
As you imply, many of the best cherries require growing two different cultivars in order to produce a crop, as pollination requires more than one variety. (Although Stella, Lapins, and Starkrimson are self-fruitful.) Commonly this means planting two trees, which also has the benefit of providing more than one kind of fruit, but has the disadvantage of requiring more space. This might be acceptable if you used truly dwarf trees. Or you could get an appropriate combination of varieties grafted onto the same tree. Or you could convince a neighbor to grow the required second variety.
Local climate conditions make it very difficult to grow peaches here, while climate here is superb for a variety of peach-pests. We strongly suggest you consider substituting something that naturally does better: persimmons are easiest, followed in order by apples, oriental pear, European pears, and plums. (So-called resistant varieties of peaches here frequently do not taste nearly as good as fruit grown in more favorable climates.)
Butterfly weed is Asclepias tuberosa, a native of eastern US, and it grows well here. Find it at many garden centers. However, you will find that many other pollinator-friendly plants grow beautifully here. Here are two links to great regional lists: Plants for Pollinators in Oregon, USDA Plant Materials No. 13 is online at…
and the Xerxces Society publications Pollinator Plants Maritime Northwest is online at
People here are very much into making their yards wildlife-friendly. In the greater Portland area, the Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust have teamed up to provide a wealth of resources via their Backyard Habitat Certification Program ( The program does not yet officially cover Forest Grove, but they have many resources that would be completely applicable to your site. Other resources include the Washington County Master Gardeners group (, and Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District (
Welcome to Oregon!

Pollinating A Cherry Tree: How Do Cherry Trees Pollinate

Sweet cherry tree pollination is done primarily through honeybees. Do cherry trees cross pollinate? Most cherry trees require cross pollination (the assistance of another of the species). Only a couple, such as the sweet cherries Stella and Compact Stella, have the ability to self-pollinate. Pollination of cherry trees is necessary to get fruit, so it’s best to have a compatible cultivar planted at least 100 feet from your variety.

How Do Cherry Trees Pollinate?

Not all cherry trees need a compatible cultivar, so how do cherry trees pollinate? The sour cherry varieties are almost all self-fruiting. This means they can get pollen from the same cultivar to produce fruit. The sweet cherries, with few exceptions, need pollen from a different but compatible cultivar to set cherries. Pollinating a cherry tree in the sweet category with the same cultivar will not result in fruit.

Natural reproductive systems are often described using the birds and bees analogy. In the case of cherry trees, birds plant the seeds but bees are required to pollinate the flowers that make the fruit and seeds. This explains the how but not the who, if you will.

Trees that require another cultivar will not fruit without a compatible tree. Two of the best overall matches are the Lambert and Garden Bing. These cross pollinate with the widest range of cultivars. Very few flowers are wind pollinated and a good honeybee population is also essential.

Sweet Cherry Tree Pollination

There are several cultivars of sweet cherries that are self-fruitful. In addition to Stella, Black Gold and North Star sweet cherries are self-pollinating. All of the remaining varieties must have a cultivar of a different type to pollinate successfully.

North Star and Black Gold are late season pollinators while Stella is an early season variety. Van, Sam, Rainier, and Garden Bing are all adaptable to any of the cross pollinators available except themselves.

Pollinating a cherry tree when you are unsure of the variety can be done with the Lambert or Garden Bing varieties in most cases.

Pollination of Cherry Trees in the Sour Category

If you have a sour cherry tree or pie cherry, you’re in luck. These trees are self-pollinating but do better with another cultivar nearby. The flowers are still pollinated by honeybees, but they can produce fruit just from the pollen on the tree.

Any of the sweet or sour cultivars will increase the likelihood of a bumper crop. In some cases, pollination will not take place due to weather conditions.

Additionally, heavily pollinated trees may abort some of the flowers before they form fruit in order to make room for healthy cherries. This is not a cause for concern though, as the plant retains plenty of blooms for a well laden tree.

Pollination Charts for Fruit-bearing Trees and Shrubs – how to get a larger crop –

Importance of Pollination

Some fruit trees and shrubs cannot pollinate themselves, or if they can, then it’s not highly effective. In this case, a different variety must be planted nearby to ensure a large harvest of fruits. Plants that generally require a pollinator are blueberries, pears, apples, plums and sweet cherries.
Other fruit trees and shrubs are self-pollinating and do not require another variety to produce a large crop of fruits. Nearly all strawberry, raspberry, grape, blackberry, peach, nectarine, sour cherry, and apricot varieties are self-fruitful. In this case, no second pollinizing plant is needed.


  • When a fruit tree can’t pollinate itself, you need to partner it with another, different variety that blooms at the same time.


  • Apple – The pollinator partner for semi-dwarf trees should be planted no more than 50 feet (15 meters) away. If you have a dwarf tree, then plant the two varieties less than 20 feet (6 meters) apart.
  • Blueberry – Plant a different variety tree no more than six feet (2 meters) apart.
  • Cherry, Sweet – Plant a different variety tree no more than 20 feet (6 meters) apart.
  • Pear – Plant a different variety tree no more than 100 feet (30 meters) apart.
  • Plum – Plant a different variety tree no more than 100 feet (30 meters) apart.


  • Apple – Produces fruit two to five years after planting.
  • Blueberry – Produces fruit two to three years after planting.
  • Cherry, Sweet – Produces fruit four to seven years after planting.
  • Cherry, Sour – Produces fruit three to five years after planting.
  • Pear – Produces fruit four to six years after planting.
  • Plum – Produces fruit three to six years after planting.


When in doubt of which variety to plant, most white-flowering crabapple trees are a great pollinator for any apple tree.
Pro Tip: Triploid (three chromosomes) apples have sterile pollen that will not pollinate other trees. You should plant at least two different non-triploid varieties when growing a triploid apple. Triploid (sterile) varieties include: ‘Arkansas Black’, ‘Jonagold’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Lodi’, ‘Spartan’ and ‘Winesap’.


Half-High (Vaccinium corymbosum x angustifolium – Best for the Upper Midwest, regions with exceptionally cold climates.
Northern Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Best for eastern and northeastern United States with cooler climates.
Southern Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum x darrowii) – Best for regions with mild winters and higher average temperatures.
Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) – Best for southeastern United States with long, hot summers.


Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium) – Best for eating fresh or for baking and preserving.
Sour/Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus) – Best for baking and preserving.

Pro Tip: Sweet and sour cherries can cross-pollinate each other, but ornamental flowering cherries usually won’t cross-pollinate sweet or sour cherries. Sour cherries are generally self-fruitful and don’t require another tree to produce fruits.


European (Pyrus communis) – These trees produce sweet, juicy fruits that are the traditional pear shape.
Asian (Pyrus pyrifolia) – The types of fruit produced by these trees are round and crisp (similar to an apple).


Most plum trees need a different variety to cross pollinate. The second tree must be the same type, because European and Japanese types aren’t compatible.
European (Prunus domestica) – Good for drying and jams, many varieties are self-fertile, flowers later and is good for northern regions.
Japanese (Prunus salicina) – Good for fresh eating, need two different varieties for pollination, tends to thrive in warmer regions.
Not finding the pollination information you need? Comment below to ask our plant experts your question!

Detailed Prunus pollination chart
(click thumbnail to open as PDF)

General Pollination Tips for Cherries & Plums (Prunus)

  • Sour cherries are self-pollinating; only one tree is needed for fruit production. Evans, Montmorency, Northstar and the Romantic series fall into this category.

Many chokecherries will also aid in cross-pollination. The closer the relationship between species, the larger and more abundant the fruit will be.

General Pollination Tips for Apricots (Prunus)

  • European apricots are self-pollinating. Only one tree is needed for fruit production. Manchurian and Siberian apricots fruit more dependably when other apricot varieties or Nanking cherries are nearby.

General Pollination Tips for Apples & Pears (Malus and Pyrus)

In order to have fruit from apple and pear trees, you often need a second tree for cross-pollination. As long as the second tree is within 500 feet (150m), pollination should occur. Within city limits, most apple and pear trees will be pollinated by insects carrying pollen from the neighbours’ trees.

If your apple or pear trees are not performing well, the following trouble shooting list may help you to determine why:

  • Cool, rainy weather conditions during flowering.

Unfortunately in this case, other than hoping for better luck next year, there is nothing to be done. Bees and pollinating insects do not fly during cold , wet and windy weather.

  • Old, unproductive trees that do not flower.

Generally, apple and pear trees have a productive life span of about 30 to 40 years. Trees older than this should be replaced. Trees can be rejuvenated by removing old, unproductive growth and allowing new growth to replace it.

  • A poor crop the year following a bumper crop.

Some apple varieties have a tendency to perform biennially, with a large crop one year, not much the next, and a large crop again the third year.

  • No tree of the same genus (i.e. Malus) nearby.

It is best to pollinate fruit trees of the same genus with each other – apples with apples, as long as both trees bloom at the same time. Pears & Apples can cross-pollinate but are not dependable.

  • The other cultivar in yard is sterile.

Some but not all ornamental crabapple trees work for cross-pollination purposes. A few varieties have sterile pollen.

  • Lack of pollinating insects, such as bees.

Try adding to your flowerbeds. Most flowering plants are almost guaranteed to attract bees. The annual herb “Borage” and the perennial “Beebalm” (Monarda) are especially good for this purpose. Because their flowering times coincide with those of many fruit trees, marigolds, pansies, spurge, trollius, and arabis are the best choices.

  • The trees are of the same variety.

Clones will not pollinate each other; for example, a Norland apple tree cannot pollinate another Norland apple tree.

Grapes (Vitis)

Grapes are self-pollinating. Regular pruning is essential for fruit production. To do this, remove all suckers from the base of stems after the end of June. Remove ends of canes two to three leaves past the last fruit cluster. Remove all non-producing canes.

Blueberries (Vaccinium)

Blueberries are self-pollinating, but two or more varieties that bloom at the same time will result in better yields and larger berries.

Currants and Gooseberries (Ribes)

Currants and gooseberries are self-pollinating. Excellent fruit production can be obtained with just one plant. If currants are grown near gooseberries or josta berries however, yields can be even better!

Black currants perform better when different cultivars are grown together. Note that black currants will not cross with red or white currants; the reverse is also true.

Josta berries (Ribes)

Josta berries are a cross between gooseberries and blackberries. Two or more bushes are required to ensure fruit production. Josta berries will cross-pollinate with gooseberries or currants.

Strawberries, Raspberries, Goji Berries and Saskatoons (Fragaria, Rubus, Lycium and Amelanchier)

Strawberries, raspberries, goji berries and saskatoons are all self-pollinating.

Kiwi Fruit (Actinidia)

Both male and female plants are required to produce fruit. You need at least one of each plant, but a male can cross-pollinate up to 8 females. Plants must be 2 to 3 years old before they will produce fruit.

Haskap (Lonicera)

Like apples, Haskaps require 2 genetically different varieties to produce both the largest and highest quantity of fruit – both will produce. For ‘Borealis’, ‘Tundra’ & ‘Indigo Gem’ use ‘Polar Jewel’/ ‘Berry Blue’™ or ‘Honeybee’.

Royal Ann Cherry Tree

Gourmet Sweet Cherries

Why Royal Ann Cherry Trees?

Known by several noble monikers over the centuries: Queen Anne, Napoleon Bigarreau, Wellington…and the Royal Ann Cherry Tree today, this cherry variety has long been a pedigreed favorite in orchards around the globe.

Cultivated from the sweetest of wild cherries, it is full-flavored and plump. Take a bite, and you’ll find the texture refreshing and crisp – a thin outer layer with a juicy, cream-colored interior.

Resembling the Rainier in appearance and taste, the Royal Ann Cherry is often mistaken for this more commonly marketed variety. It has a firm, meaty flesh favored for commercial and home canning. It’s also the variety of choice for maraschino cherries – the colorful adornment to summer drinks and craft cocktails.

Why is Better

The Royal Ann is considered a premier, all-around cherry, boasting a variety of kitchen uses. It’s packed with natural sugars, making it a tasty treat straight from the tree or dried and saved for later. It’s commonly used in pies, grilling sauces, fruit-flavored soups, jams and preserves.

But the best part? Because it’s grafted to the Colt rootstock, the Royal Ann is a semi-dwarf cherry tree that’s poised for productivity, so you’ll find it thrives in most soil types, repels serious pests and tolerates colder temperatures, even down to -10 degrees!

Treat yourself to gourmet, sweet cherries without ever paying retail again! The Royal Ann “reigns supreme” in sweetness, texture and taste, and you’ll get fruit in only a few years. Order your Royal Ann Cherry Tree today!

Planting & Care

1. Planting: Choose a sunny spot that will give your cherry tree a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Although it will thrive in almost any kind of soil, avoid locations where the soil will remain soggy for prolonged lengths of time.

Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. Place the roots in the hole and fill the hole about half-way with soil, tamp to remove air pockets then fill the hole completely. Spread a layer of mulch over the soil around your cherry tree to help keep the soil moist, encourage healthy growth and protect your tree against competing growth.

2. Watering: During the growing season, if your tree receives at least an inch of rain every 10 days, then no additional irrigation is necessary. If the season is hot and dry then you may need to provide some additional water. The best way to water is by using a slow trickling garden hose left at the base of the tree. This will allow the water to penetrate the soil more deeply and prevent it from running off over the soil surface. Make sure the ground is fully moisturized all around the root system.

3. Pruning: A year after planting your Royal Ann, prune your tree in the late to end of winter while dormant. Shape the tree to encourage horizontal branch growth with space between branches. Prune once a year as necessary to remove weak, drooping branches.

4. Fertilizing: Good, nutrient-rich soil should only require the addition of nitrogen. Fertilize in the spring and midsummer using nitrogen fertilizer twice annually applying 2 weeks after planting and 4 weeks after the first application. Use a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 and apply at the rate of 0.05 pounds of actual nitrogen per dose. Fertilizer application ratios vary upon the formulation so be sure to follow package directions.

Fast Growing Trees cherrytrees large trees Planting Kit Tree Spikes // // 31502553415742 2-3 ft. 49.95 49.95 // InStock 2-3 ft. 13940859961396 3-4 ft. 59.95 59.95 // InStock 3-4 ft. 13940859994164 4-5 ft. 79.95 79.95 // InStock 4-5 ft. 13940860026932 5-6 ft. 99.95 99.95 // InStock 5-6 ft.

When planning our new cherry orchard three years ago, I considered several factors. First in importance was to control tree size. Until five years ago, this was not possible. The only cherry rootstocks available were vigorous in the extreme. In fact, the Queen Anne cherry tree on the farm when Pam, Reuwai and I came here in 1975 was over 30 feet tall! Our tallest ladder was only 28 feet—it took two very strong men to put it up and picking from the top of that ladder was really “exciting.”

Such ladders were made from basswood, used for its strength and lightness. We bought our ladders from the Seelye Ladder Company in upstate New York. Twenty-five years ago they were still able to find some tall basswood trees. It is almost impossible to find them today. Most orchard ladders today are made of spruce that is heavier and not as strong.

We picked Queen Annes for a few years, but the annual race with the birds usually ended up with us the losers and the birds full of ripe cherries. With such a large tree, protective netting was out of the question. Hence, controlling the size of the new cherry trees was a major consideration for us.

About three years ago, size-controlling rootstocks became available. These were developed in Germany and are now called “Gisela” rootstocks. Consequently, it is possible to plant a cherry tree that is easily covered with bird netting and stays short enough to be picked without the use of ladders.

Second in importance was to choose cherry varieties resistant to cracking. Unfortunately, many cherries such as Bing and Ranier can absorb water through the skin when a rainstorm occurs during the seven to ten day period before harvest. This causes the cherry to swell rapidly, the skin to crack, and the fruit to decay. Because of this problem, most cherries in North America are grown in the desert-like climates of the State of Washington and British Columbia. Most of the time, the dry climate allows the cherries to get to harvest without cracking.

My friend Jake Van Westin of Penticton, British Columbia, grows about 35 acres of cherries. Even though rain is infrequent, he hires a helicopter pilot to remain on standby for the two-week period prior to harvest every year. If rain occurs, the helicopter flies slowly back and forth over Jake’s cherry orchards, blowing raindrops off the fruit to save the crop. And, if another shower comes along, the pilot goes right back over again!

But, alas, this technique just does not make sense for our one acre of cherries. Instead, we planted crack-resistant varieties of cherries. They absorb less water and are less affected by rain.

A final factor is that cherry season is short and sweet. Each variety of cherry is ready to be picked in the space of about three days. To spread out the harvest time a little, we have planted eleven varieties—Ulster, Lapins, Somerset, Hedelfingen, Hudson, Hartland, Chelan, Schmidt, Regina, Rainer (yellow blush) and Montmorency (tart variety for cooking and baking) —each with a slightly different maturity date. In this way, we were able to lengthen the picking season. Keep in mind, though, that cherry season goes by fast. If you wait until “next weekend” to pick cherries, you may be too late. And, this June, towards the end of the month, picking will be “ready, set, go,” because the season is still “short and sweet.”

Don’t forget to check out our cherry recipes.

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