the show

Grow Up With Vines

encore date: January 28, 2016

original air date: February 12, 2015

Grow up with vines! Colby Adams from Barton Springs Nursery has got your screening covered in sun and shade. On tour in Hutto, Donna and Mike Fowler banished lawn for destination gardens filled with art, food, and fun. Texas A&M’s Jim Kamas answers: which fruit trees need another tree for pollination? Plus get his tips for perfectly luscious plums. Trisha Shirey shows off her favorite new product to deter deer, squirrels, and other garden critters from the garden bounty.


Question of the Week

What fruit trees need another for pollination?

Peaches are commonly self-pollinated. In fact with many peach trees, the fruit has been pollinated even before the flower reaches full maturity, even before it opens all the way. Now that’s true for most of our standard varieties. But some of the old varieties, like Bell of Georgia, are pollen sterile. So in those cases you will need another variety for pollination.

Both apples and pears are both strongly cross pollinated. And that means you need to plant two apples or two pears, with similar chilling requirement so that they bloom at the same time. That way, the pollen is available for insects to transfer from plant to plant.

Plums, well that depends. Some of the plum varieties that are adapted best to Central Texas, such as Methley or Santa Rosa, are self-pollinating. So you don’t need to have another plum. A single plum will bear fruit.

But many of the standard varieties especially some of the higher chilling ones, like Morris and Ozark Premier, those are strongly cross pollinated. So in the colder parts of the state, where there is higher chilling hours, those two plums are ideal to plant next to each other because they do bloom at the same time.

Grapes are commonly self-pollinated. In fact grapes are wind pollinated. So really there is not much you need to do to set fruit on grapes other than to simply let them bloom normally.

One of the crops that is commonly misunderstood are pecans. Pecans are strongly cross pollinated. So you need another variety. There’s protoginus that bears its female flower first. Or protanderist that bears pollen before the female is receptive.

Now if you’re in an isolated part of West Texas it is important to plant one of each so that there is pollen transfer. But here in Central Texas we have so many native pecan trees that you really don’t have to worry about it. There’s enough pecan pollen flying during bloom of pecan trees for all trees to be pollinated. So a single tree will bear pecans for you.


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Plant of the Week



Here in Central Texas where we’re looking at 700-600 hours of winter chilling (hours below 45°), there are a couple of varieties that do well. Santa Rosa is a plum from California that has about a 700 hour chilling requirement that does well across Texas. Another is Methley. Even though Methley is a relatively low chiller, around 450 hours, it has a protracted bloom so it tends to set fruit in most seasons. They’re relatively easy to grow but they’re susceptible to the same diseases as peaches are. But you simply need to maintain a good open center system in order to reduce disease pressure. Find out more about growing plums and other fruit trees.