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Apple tree pollinating Jonagold Elstar


Hi everyone. I decided to bite the bullet and buy 2 apple trees which were sold to me by the GC as 'very dwarf'.  The label clearly says self pollinating, but on research as to how care for them various websites say they are not and will need a pollinator.  One is Jonagold the other is Elstar. I'm getting really confused about the whole pollinating thing and wondered if I need to buy more trees and if so what? 

Thank you so much for any advice to a beginner I do appreciate the kindness here. 
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  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,476
    I would take them back to the garden centre and tell them the labels are a fraud. Neither variety is self-pollinating and they won't pollinate each other. Just to add to the problem Jonagold is a triploid variety. You will need at least one other variety if you decide to keep them - a crab apple would do the job.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,545
    edited 29 April
    Ah, pollination. Yes, it is confusing. A lot of it is based on flowering times. So there are pollination groups and these are based on the varieties that flower at the same time.

    So you would think that varieties that flower at the same time would pollinate each other. The only trouble is that there is a fly in the ointment there.

    There is a type of tree that is known as a triploid. This is a tree that displays a type of selfishness. Jonagold is a triploid. So it flowers. It flowers at the same time as Elstar. 

    The trouble is that both Jonagold and Elstar are self sterile. They need a pollinator. But Jonagold as a selfish triploid is not a pollinator. It uses other varieties’ pollen to set its fruit but its pollen will not set the fruit of other varieites.

    So your Elstar will provide you with Jonagold apples. But your Elstar won’t have any apples because Jonagold is not playing the game.

    So you need another variety, not a triploid, to pollinate your Elstar and give you Elstar apples.

    Here is a list of possible candidates.

    https://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/searchpolpartner.aspx?id=ELSTAR


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,156
    I had a Jonagold, along with six  other apples. (James grieve, discovery, cox, Tydemans early worcester, Lord Lambourne, Gala. ) I've given up on it after five years and pulled it out. Cox are supposed to be difficut to grow but I have had a wonderful crop on a four year old tree. James grieve tends to heavy crop alternate years with a smaller crop the following year. The early worcester is lovely, early September , very reliable  but doesn't keep.

    I agree with @Steephill, take them back. If they lie about them being self fertile, what about the rootstock.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,545
    If you can’t be bothered to return them but would rather have an extra tree, I can recommend Gala.

    Here is mine, photographed from the bedroom window this morning so apologies for the fuzziness but you can’t complain about the number of flowers on it. 🙂


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Blondie73Blondie73 Posts: 17
    Wow that looks pretty! I will buy one of them, I have space nearby for that. Can I plant that now or wait until next year (my others have long since been planted and doing well)
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,545
    If you can find one that’s for sale in a pot, as opposed to bare rooted, you can plant it any time. 

    But I’d make sure that it is growing on a dwarfing rootstock if you want it to stay small. Look for M9 or M27. Here’s a bit of a quick guide.


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,567
    Do bullfinches not like Gala flower buds, @pansyface?  Or have your bullfinches gone to pastures new??  (My theory is that you've sent them over the Irish sea... this year we have a total of 4 flowers on our 2 mature plus 3 new apple trees - and 4 fat bullfinches, currently stuffing themselves with dandelion seeds.)  :)  
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,545
    The bullfinches go for the plum and damson trees. They never touch the pears blossom.

    I can hear them “wheeping”away somewhere in the area but they don’t touch the apple trees for some reason.

    Maybe to coin a Yorkshire phrase, they’re “stalled of fruit blossom” by now.🙂 
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,567
    I planted an Opal plum last winter.  Maybe it'll become the "sacrificial lamb"...
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,545
    Ooh, I do hope not. Opal is my favourite (even though I don’t have one.☹️🙄)
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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