Recently, I took a phone call from a garden owner wanting some advice on how to insure his fruit trees would have a good pollination which correlates to a higher yield of fruit. It is quite simple really. He explained to me that his fruit trees are in an area of his property completely separate from his flower beds and flowering shrubs. He has fenced in the area to keep deer and other plant eating rodents out and has struggled for two years with low fruit yields. The trees themselves are quite healthy and growing well. They just have not produced the amount of fruit he felt they should.
I explained to him, the past year of strange weather did not help. Here on Vancouver Island we had a very late spring, many of the flowering trees and shrubs were 6 weeks behind because we had such a cold winter and a late one at that. So when the pollinators (bees, ladybugs, butterflies,etc) have come to your garden and cannot find food, they move on.
Plants give off what is called “Pheromones” which are used for many things…one of which is communication among plants and with insects. When the plant starts to flower and needs to be pollinated for sustainability, it releases its pheromones into the air to attract pollinators. So to increase the pollination processes in your garden and off set things like cold winters, late bloomers, etc…choose companion plants to grow with or near your fruit trees that will increase your trees chances of getting a high pollination count. Choosing flowers that bloom for long periods of time to overlap with the fruit trees helps encourage pollination. Choose daffodils, garlic, lavender, rosemary, marigolds or heather. They will not only attract the right pollinators to your garden but also deter pests with their strong odors and help to keep your garden healthy for years to come.
Also…these choices are also deer resistant. I have never seen deer eat these plants so it just might help to keep your plants from being eaten.
Happy Gardening…see you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂