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pollination services

    Peaches  and  Nectarines

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

The process of pollination is relatively simplified in peaches and nectarines in that only one ovule must be fertilized in order to set fruit as compared to hundreds of ovules in many other fruit species such as melons or papayas (McGregor 1976).  Whether the variety is self-fertile or self-sterile, a satisfactory fruit crop cannot be obtained if adequate numbers of pollinating insects are not working the peach or nectarine orchard at the time when the trees are in bloom (McGregor 1976).

A review of the pollination requirements of peaches and nectarines conducted by McGregor (1976) makes numerous references to research conducted in the mid-1900s describing the benefit of having honey bees in both glasshouses and open orchards.  More recent research has also acknowledged the value of honey bees and other pollinating insects in the pollination of peaches and nectarines (Mattu et al. 1994; Szabo et al. 1998; Nyeki and Szabo 1996).  Additionally, an Australian study by Langridge et al. (1977) showed the benefits of having bees within a peach orchard by comparing fruit set between caged and open trees of the cultivar ‘Crawford'.  Trees open to honey bee pollination had a 290% increase in the percentage of flowers that set fruit and a 260% increase in the weight of fruit harvested as compared to the trees that were caged to exclude bees.

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