WSU Extension


Common Cultural : Poor pollination
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

Fruit may fail to develop properly or may drop prematurely if pollination is poor. Several factors may cause poor pollination. Some fruit trees require a tree of a different variety for viable pollen. Cold temperatures or very wet weather during flowering may inhibit bee activity, or frost may damage delicate flower parts. Certain insecticides also can stop bee activity, while untimely spray applications may inhibit pollen growth. Also, some trees may have a tendency to produce only one crop every other year. Vegetable crops and small fruits may also suffer from poor pollination.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Protect bees by applying pesticides only when necessary. Do not apply insecticides on or near blooming plants, including weeds. If insecticide use is necessary, apply in the evening after bee activity has stopped for the day. Remove flowers from blooming plants where practical and choose formulations less toxic to bees such as liquids or granules.
  • For fruit trees, make sure an appropriate pollinator tree is available if one is necessary.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Poor pollination on cherry
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Cherry fruit drop
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Strawberry catfacing
Photo by: W. Willis