Pollination And Propagation
Some fruit plants are self-pollinating, which means they do not require another plant to pollinate its flowers. Pollination can take place when the male part of the plant, the stamen, pollinates the stigma of the plant, a female part that receives pollen from the anther of the male part of the plant. In self-pollination this takes place within the same flower. For plants that require cross-pollination, pollen is carried by the wind or by insects such as bees from the stamen of one plant to the stigma of another of the same variety. Where cross-pollination is necessary for fruiting, the plants must blossom at approximately the same time.
The propagation of fruit plants can take place by seeding, but with this method the new plants are usually different from the parent plant and from one another. This method is not preferred by fruit growers since it will take years for the new plant to produce fruit. More common propagation methods include a variety of forms of layering. In simple layering, a branch is bent and the tip is buried in the soil. After the branch has developed roots and a shoot, it is cut away and planted elsewhere. Other forms of layering are air layering, tip layering, trench layering, and mound layering.
Other propagation methods include stem or root cuttings, soft and hardwood cuttings, budding, and grafting. The advantage of these methods is that the type of fruit produced can be controlled. Budding, where a single bud is cut and placed under the bark of another tree, is usually done with fruit trees of the same variety. With older trees, grafting is usually done. In this method, a stem or branch from one tree is grafted onto another. The tree may produce more than one variety of fruit from this method. Micropropagation is a method of plant tissue propagation that can mass-produce plants that are identical, or clones. It also has the advantage of producing disease-free plants for fruit production.