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Male and Female fruit trees?

 
Jon La Foy
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Location: Kempner, TX (Central Texas)
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So I am ready to begin gathering root stocks and things for my food forest, and since I plan on having a variety of fruit trees, I've had to do much research which resulted in more questions. The biggest of which is, "Is there really male and female trees?" If so, "How do you tell them apart before you plant them?" Before I order or purchase these plants, including apples, pears, plums, peach family, etc, I would like to know if they are male and female before I waste my money. I know there are self-pollinating varieties out there, but they do better when pollinated, so why not go with pollinating ones! I am thinking that grafting would be easier and more efficient, but the question still arises, "If I have male tree, how can I tell so I can graft a female scion on to it, or vice versa?"
Please be patient with my knowledge of the subject and if I use any improper terms. Any and all help is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Some trees are monoecious or dioecious or both - sort of (like Mulberry). Wikipedia will tell you & so will most nurseries.

As for telling them apart, not sure. I have a bunch of seaberries but still no flowers after 2 or 3 years. Not sure if that means they're all male or what.

 
Troy Rhodes
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Most fruit trees and bushes don't come in male and female, but there are some exceptions, like hardy kiwi for example.

Most fruit trees bear more and better fruit if there is more than one variety.


Some varieties can be self-fruitful and don't need anything. They'll make fruit all by themselves.


The nursery catalogs are pretty good about telling you who needs what. You often have to pay attention to who makes pollen when, because one variety might make lots of pollen, but so early, it does no good for the other variety.


This is all the best case scenario, with named true varieties. If you grow your own from seed or work with uncertain varieties, it's all a crapshoot. But it's fun and exciting. If you plant enough stuff, with enough variety, you'll get fruit.


Here's how you tell with kiwis: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/tell-gender-kiwi-plant-74507.html (similar in hardy kiwi)


It's a process. Welcome to the learning curve.


troy
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 84
Location: Kempner, TX (Central Texas)
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Troy Rhodes wrote:Most fruit trees bear more and better fruit if there is more than one variety.


So what you're saying is is that it is better to have more variety rather than male vs female? If that's the case, should I just plant five or each season matching variety and hope I have males and females? I know there are the self pollinating types, but I'm more interested in the males with females, it gives me more to choose from. Thanks again in advance
 
Troy Rhodes
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Most don't even have male and female trees. At all.

Depends on what species.

Apples for example, don't have male and female trees.

troy
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 84
Location: Kempner, TX (Central Texas)
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Interesting. So most apple trees need to be cross-pollinated but don't have male and female sexes. That makes it easier. What about the stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries)? Do they have male/female or just need to be cross-pollinated?
 
John Saltveit
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Neither on many. Almost all peaches are self-fertile for example. Pie cherries are self-fertile. Sweet cherries need a pollinator. No stone fruit needs male and female.
Dioecious is rare: Sea berry , AMerican persimmon, kiwi, not that many others.
John S
PDX OR
 
Jon La Foy
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Location: Kempner, TX (Central Texas)
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That all helps out a lot. Now, if I do graft, which I most likely will, the scions have to be collected AND attached in the winter/dormant season, correct?
Also, I may have read it wrong, but can you actually cut a small branch off then root it? If so, how big does the branch have to be, and how do you root it (put it in a bucket of water?) And when is the best time to do that?
Thanks again very much!
 
John Saltveit
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Whip and tongue, bark, cleft grafting is done in late winter and early spring from dormant new branches.

Bud grafting or just called budding, happens in the summer (august and september mostly).

Some plants will grow easily from cuttings. Others won't.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Leila Rich
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Yip, it gets reeaally complicated. Nature's not in the business of simple, that's for sure!
John Saltveit wrote:Whip and tongue, bark, cleft grafting is done in late winter and early spring from dormant new branches.
Bud grafting or just called budding, happens in the summer (august and september mostly).

I've been wanting to learn grafting for ages, and basically just never got around to it.
I've always been told that bud grafting is a great 'beginner' technique.
That's not much use to you, as it'd be nearly a year until budding season comes around
If you're in an area with grafting workshops, I think it'd be well worth going;
there'd sure to be all sorts of learning opportunities aside from just grafting.
Jon La Foy wrote:can you actually cut a small branch off then root it?
As John says-it depends. What plant(s) are you thinking about growing from cuttings?
I haven't heard of people rooting cuttings from fruit trees, which are generally grown from pip/stone or grafted onto rootstock.
People here may have.
These are easy though:
Berries like blueberries, gooseberries, currants etc
Grapes
Figs

Also: if you plant seeds from an apple, fruit from the new tree will probably be very different-that doesn't mean not good though.
this thread goes on about it at length!
Stones from fruit like peaches usually grow a new plant that's pretty much the same as it's 'parent'.
 
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