I was told by my local nursery folk when I tried to purchase an asian pear
He said that I should plant at least two's that way they can
one another, and hopefully one is male and the other is female !
I was aware of cross-pollination business, but I really got lost when
he mentioned about male/female plant!! I would like you experts
in this forum to comment on the subject --- he seemed to know what
he was taking about. If he was right -which I doubt it, how do I correctly
pick the right sex?
Thanks in advance
You have single sex trees that are either male or female aka
And you have trees that produce both pollen and have ovaries aka
But some trees that are dioecious are also self infertile and cannot
If you want to find the skinny on which trees need what, look for the
pollination handbook on the AI Root Website
It's called McGregors Pollination Handbook.
here is the link-http://www.beeculture.com/content /
You have monoecious and dioecious reversed. For more detail than the OP
probably wants see
The usual situation in Rosaceae is that plants are synoecious (all
flowers produce pollen and have ovaries) but there are exceptions. I
would expect that pears are the same, and the need from a separate
pollinator arises from self-incompatibility rather from the trees being
gendered. However to be sure one has to investigate, as you say below,
the situation obtaining in a particular species, or even a particular
This subject is much more complex than it first appears. Yes there
are species of plants that have separate male and female plants,
clearly in this case you need at least one of each, an example is the
kiwifruit. Pears are not in this category.
The reason that you may be told to get more than one of certain fruit
and nut trees is that although they are both male and female often
their self fertility is low or non-existent. In some cases to get the
best result you just need more than one plant of the same cultivar in
other cases different cultivars are better. The latter situation is
In the case of pears some are self-fertile but many will produce a
much reduced yield unless paired with the right cultivar. You didn't
say what type you have so I cannot look it up.
Besides Ginkgo and some hollies (Ilex), ash trees (Fraxinus) and
Asparagus have the sexes separated.
I strongly recommend planting only male ash trees. 32 years ago, I
didn't realize how important that is. Now, the most common weed in my
garden is the seedlings of the ash tree I planted long ago.
For eating, some prefer female Asparagus officinalis. The ornamental A.
densiflorus 'Sprengeri' has attractive berries (as does A. officinalis).
However, those berries quickly become new plants, possibly another weed.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
Generally, cross-pollination is not an issue about distinct genders of
trees. For some stone fruits (e.g., certain plum varieties), it
requires a different variety, not a different gender. For citrus,
pollination is not needed at all.
Yes, some growers do top-work a rootstock to provide for
cross-pollination. That is, they graft more than one variety onto the
same rootstock. However, grafting is not always possible. For dates,
you need a male palm to provide pollen, one male tree for about 100
female trees; but palms cannot be grafted.
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