Please enter verification code
Effect of Flower Pollination on Fruit Set and Cropping in Apple
American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry
Volume 6, Issue 5, September 2018, Pages: 156-161
Received: Aug. 9, 2018; Accepted: Aug. 23, 2018; Published: Oct. 13, 2018
Views 1071      Downloads 153
Giannina Vizzotto, Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
Elena Driussi, Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
Maila Pontoni, Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
Raffaele Testolin, Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
Article Tools
Follow on us
Apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.), being self-incompatible, requires cross-pollination to set fruit regularly. Apple flowers contain ten ovules and the higher the number of fertilized ovules, the larger the fruit size. In commercial orchards, cross pollination is usually guaranteed by intercropping different cultivars and by introducing beehives in the orchard at flowering time. Despite evidence that pollen donors should be close for successful pollen transportation, apple growers often plant large monovarietal blocks with negative consequences on crop load and fruit size. The contribution of wind and bees to apple pollination was studied and compared with hand-pollination in two apple cultivars, ‘Royal Gala’ and ‘Golden Delicious’. Self-pollination was also included as control. Each treatments was replicated in 120 cymes randomly assigned to plants in the central part of large monovarietal blocks (1.61 and 2.72 ha respectively). Fruit set and fruit weight increased moving from wind-pollination to wind + bee-pollination to hand-pollination as a consequence of the increase in the number of seeds per fruit. Fertilization of a single ovule was enough to set fruit after flowering, but the more seed, the larger the fruit. The increase in fruit weight per additional seed was 2.0 g for ‘Royal Gala’ and 4.6 g for ‘Golden Delicious’. This relationship between seed count and fruit weight resulted in fruit set by wind-pollination being mainly in the lower size classes, while wind + bee-pollination and, largely, hand-pollination shifted the fruit size distribution towards larger size classes. This resulted, in turn, in a dramatic increase in grower income. No significant difference between treatments in fruit quality, as assessed by fruit firmness, soluble solids content, titratable acidity, dry matter and starch content, was observed after fruit storage. It is concluded that limiting pollination in the hope of reducing the labor of thinning is not a good strategy, because flowers set fruit with a minimal cross-pollination, even if only a single seed is produced; conversely, the low seed content of fruit due to insufficient pollination is responsible for great losses for grower in both total crop yield and income.
Pip Fruit, Self-Incompatibility, Wind Pollination, Bee Pollination, Hand Pollination, Pollenizers, Pollinators
To cite this article
Giannina Vizzotto, Elena Driussi, Maila Pontoni, Raffaele Testolin, Effect of Flower Pollination on Fruit Set and Cropping in Apple, American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Vol. 6, No. 5, 2018, pp. 156-161. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20180605.16
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Blažek, J. and I. Hlušičková (2006) Seed count, fruit quality and storage properties in four apple cultivars. J. Fruit Ornam. Plant Res. 14 (Suppl. 2), 151–160.
Brain, P. and J. J. Landsberg (1981) Pollination, initial fruit set and fruit drop in apples: analysis using mathematical models. J. Hort. Sci., 56, 41–54.
Brittain, W. H. and C. C. Eidt (1933) Seed content, seedling production and fruitfulness in apples. Can. J. Res. 9, 307–333.
Broothaerts, W., G. A. Janssens, P. Proost and W. F. Broekaert (1995) cDNA cloning and molecular analysis of two self-incompatibility alleles from apple. Plant Mol. Biol. 27, 499–511.
Degrandi-Hoffman, G., R. A. Hoppingarner and R. Pulcer (1986) REDPOL: a pollination and fruit set prediction model for ‘Delicious’ apples. Environ. Entomol. 16, 309–318.
Dennis, F. G. Jr (1986) Apple. In Monselise, S. P. (ed.): Handbook of fruit set and development. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, USA, 1–44.
Ferree, D. C., Bishop, B. L., Schupp, J. R., Tustin, D. S. and W. H. Cashmore (2001) Influence of flower type, position in the cluster and spur characteristics on fruit set and growth of apple cultivars. J. Hort. Sci. Biotech., 76, 1–8.
Heinrich, B. (1976). The foraging specializations of individual bumblebees. Ecol. Monogr 46, 105–128.
Janick, J., J. N. Cummins, S. K. Brown and M. Hemmat (1996) Apples. In: Janick J. and J. N. Moore (eds.): Fruit breeding, Vol. II. Tree and tropical fruits. Wiley, N. Y., 1–76.
Keulemans, J., A. Brusselle, R. Eyssen, J. Vercammen and G. van Daele (1996) Fruit weight in apple as influenced by seed number and pollinizer. Acta Hortic. 423, 201–210.
Kron, P., Husband, B. C., Kevan, P. G. and S. Belaoussoff, S. (2001) Factors affecting pollen dispersal in high-density apple orchards. HortScience 36, 1039–1046.
Ladurner, E., L. Recla, M. Wolf, R. Zelger and G. Burgio (2004) Osmia cornuta (Hymenoptera Megachilidae) densities required for apple pollination: a cage study. J. Apicultural Res. 43 (3), 118–122.
Larsen, A. and E. Kjær (2009) Pollen mediated gene flow in a native population of Malus sylvestris and its implications for contemporary gene conservation management. Conserv. Genet. 10, 1637–1646.
Lespinasse, Y. (1992) Le Pommier. In: Gallais A. and H. Bannerot (eds.): Amélioration des espèces végétales cultivées-objectifs et critéres de sélection. INRA, Paris, 579–594.
Ramírez, F. and T. L. Davenport (2013) Apple pollination: A review. Sci. Hortic. 162, 188–203.
Sharma, H. K., Gupta, J. K. and J. R. Thakur (2004) Effect of bee pollination and polliniser proportion on apple productivity. Acta Hortic. 662, 451-454.
Sheffield, C. S. (2014) Pollination, seed set and fruit quality in apple: studies with Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada. J Pollination Ecol 12 (13): 120–128.
Sheffield, C. S., Ngo, H. T. and N. Azzu (2016) A manual on apple pollination. F. A. O. Rome: pp. 45.
Soltész, M. (1996) The placement of different cultivars in apple orchards (in Hungarian). Kerteszeti Tudomany 28 (3-4), 38–40.
Soltész, M. (1997) The location of varieties in apple orchards. Acta Hortic. 437, 441–443.
Vicens, N. and J. Bosch (2000) Pollinating efficacy of Osmia cornuta and Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae, Apidae) on ‘Red Delicious’ apple. Environ. Entomol. 29: 235–240.
Volz, R. K., D. S. Tustin and I. B. Ferguson (1996) Pollination effects on fruit mineral composition, seeds and cropping characteristics of ‘Braeburn’ apple trees. Sci. Hortic. 66 (3–4), 169–180.
Ward, D. L., Marini, R. P. and R. E. Byers (2001) Relationships among day of year of drop, seed number, and weight of mature apple fruit. HortScience 36, 45–48.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186