How To Save Pollen and Hand Pollinate Fruit Trees?

Hello Everyone,

I have been looking on the internet for information about how to save pollen, and hand pollinate fruit trees. The trees I would like to pollinate are cherry and plum. Any tips would be most appreciated.

Thanks! :deciduous_tree:


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If its a small amount you need to pollinate a paint brush and a gallon ziploc bag should do the trick. Brush it over one set of flowers and any dust knock into the bag. Then seal brush and all in the bag and take it to the other site. brush it over the flowers of the other tree. I don’t know an easier method but there could be one.

Can pollen be frozen and used later,like the next year? Brady

Pollen can be saved for hours, potentially days, but I am not sure how viable it will be for long. You CAN, incidentally, cut pollen with flour (some recommend lightly baking the flour to sterilize) to stretch it farther and make it easier to handle and brush on.

When I was talking to the raspberry breeder Pete Tallman he said you can freeze pollen, but it has to be dry.

Came across this publication.
Pollen Storage: high viability of pollen obtained after storage in home freezer

I’m looking at it because I have 1 asian pear that will flower this year and wanted to get some pollen from a friend in a warmer zone.

Some good videos on how to collect at:

I cut the filament off and keep the Anther, where the pollen is. Let it dry, mash it around with the brush, there you go. You could take closed flowers like in the apple video. It is formed and good before the flowers open. When they first open plenty of pollen in there, not like they shed it all at once, I hold a cup underneath and collect filaments.Well I do both, I ran out of pollen and all the flowers were open, so collected from open flowers. Sometimes I take whole flowers and dissect them later, like in the apple video. It could not be easier.

Daylily pollen can be frozen for months, so I don’t see why pollen from fruit trees couldn’t be treated the same way. I use micro centrifuge tubes with cotton stuffed in them. Then dab the pollen on the cotton until you feel you have enough, click the lid, write the name, and toss in the freezer.

When the bud is just about to open but the petals still completely cover the pollen to me is the easiest way to gather pollen and protect it’s integrity. This will be my first year to attempt storing for next season. I’m planning to let it dry in a small open container for a week and seal it and freeze.

one paper on the subject

I was about to start a thread asking what type of brush most people use for hand-pollination, but this seems like a better thread to revive instead.

So when people talk about a “small, soft brush,” is there any preference for type of bristles or anything? It seems like some materials might do a better job attracting the pollen than others, like plastic vs natural fibers, etc. I’m going to make a solid effort to hand pollinate my greenhouse avocados starting in January.

I made little brushes out of pipe cleaners twisted with wool yarn last winter, which worked ok at first but then got clumpy over time as they accumulated nectar and pollen. Maybe fine, soft paintbrushes will stay less clumpy over time? My trees were too small and aborted all fruitlets this spring, but they have grown a lot this year so I expect they’ll hold a few at least next year.