How fruit blossoms are pollinated? This paper – by using Jessica Mitford’s “To Dispel Fears of Live Burial” as a guide – presents an information process analysis essay on how fruit blossoms are pollinated. Even if the person knows nothing about the matter of pollination, he or she is, probably, aware in a very general way that many plants depend upon many insects and some, even, upon certain birds, to help them in their fertilization process. Orchard growers tend bees principally to increase their yield of apples and plums and pears; Darwin wrote a classic on the pollination of orchids; the Smyrna fig would not fruit in California until the particular wasp which acts as marriage broker for it in the Near East was imported to perform his function here. When the growers were told that the Asia Minor Greeks depended upon a small wasp to produce their fruit, they thought it a good story.
When it was finally realized that the wild Capri Fig, with inedible fruit, contained within itself the larvae of the fig-wasps necessary for the pollination of Smyrna Figs, the growers tried to import Capri Figs with their precious wasps. Today the little fig-wasp is raised and cared for with solicitude by the Californians, for upon it depends the proper pollination of the fig trees and the resulting crop of edible fruits. As long ago as the 1890’s, pollination and fruit set were little understood by commercial fruit growers and their importance was poorly appreciated. Compatibilities and incompatibilities are now better known. No one today would plant a solid block of Delicious apples, Bartlett pears, Windsor sweet cherries, or J. H. Hale peaches. These varieties have been found to be self-unfruitful for one reason or another.
In commercial practice, the bee may be used as the agent for pollinating with some regard to temperature, bee flight, and number of bees required for a given area. Traps have been devised so that pollen is scraped from the creatures as they enter the hive loaded with pollen. In turn this pollen has been placed in trays at the hive egress, so that bees emerge coated with proper pollen ready for business. In recent years, securing a set of fruit has become less of a problem generally in orchard circles than thinning off excess fruits. Here it has been found that early thinning is most effective, beginning with blossom thinning. It is interesting to note in this connection that as long ago as 1835, Robert Manning of Salem, Massachusetts, one of America's early pomologists, found that by removing all the blossoms from some biennially bearing apple trees and not from others, he caused some trees to fruit one year and others the next, thus ensuring fruit each year.
However, thinning of fruit by hand is now largely a thing of the past. In its place are chemical thinning and pole thinning of various types, in which blossoms and young fruits are literally beaten or brushed crudely from the trees. Thinning of apples by means of blossom-thinning sprays has become standard practice in large areas, and there is some success with peaches from applications several weeks after bloom. In the past, Dinitrocresols have been used in some regions, but growth regulators, such as naphthaleneacetic acid and naphthaleneacetamide, have been found more effective in others. It has been learned that such sprays tend to knock off the weak blossoms and leave the strong, so that the quality of the remaining fruit is improved both by reduction of competition and by the survival of the fittest.
The concentration of the chemical is adjusted to the variety, the season, and the vigor of fruit buds; that is, stronger concentrations are used with varieties which characteristically set heavily, with trees with vigorous fruit buds, and in seasons where weather at blossom time is highly favorable to fruit set.