Here’s the thing about apples: they must have cross pollination to set fruit. And even if there is another apple tree nearby, if the bees aren’t out doing their thing, you may have to help nature along. Here in Seattle where sunshine is an occasional thing (“sun breaks,” anyone?) it will definitely increase your harvest to get out there and help.

How? Take a clean, dry, soft artist’s paintbrush, or even a Q-tip, and brush the pollen carefully on a bunch of flowers on Tree A. Then go to Tree B (a different apple variety) and brush some more. Back and forth a few times should do it. Of course for a big tree, you can only do so much, but for dwarf backyard trees, you will make a huge difference.

We have two trees of the “columnar” type. They’re a super skinny, super dwarf size, good in containers, and both can be hand pollinated in just a few minutes. Go back in a few days when more blossoms have opened and do it again. You’ll be glad you did.

Visit Today’s Flowers for more sweet flower photos.