Varieties and Pollination


Summerland Varieties Corp (SVC)

SVC is a company owned by the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association (BCFGA) dedicated to the improvement and commercial development of fruit varieties for the purpose of enhancing grower returns and contributing to the viability of a successful fruit industry.

The Importance of Certified Nursery Stock

Fruit growing represents a long term investment in which the trees are the basic units of production. A mistake made in selecting the stock may adversely affect productivity throughout a lifetime. SVC operates a Certified Budwood orchard, which is intended to provide wood that is true-to-type and free from pests and diseases for which the wood has been tested.

Growers and nurserymen should be certain the variety and strain they are propagating or planting is true to name. Propagating wood from true-to-name, indexed trees of many of the better strains of most kinds is available from the SVC Certified Budwood program at 105-13677 Rosedale Avenue, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0; telephone 250-404-0088 or fax 250-494-7472. Email address is or visit the website:

Final deadlines for ordering scion wood are as follows:

Jan 15 - Winter/Spring deadline

June 1 - Summer/Fall deadline

Supply depends on availability. Orders received by the dates listed will have priority.

Nursery Stock Requirements

As nursery stock supplies are frequently short it is important for growers to order trees one or two years in advance in order to acquire the desired varieties.

Plant Breeders Rights

Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) legislation offers variety discoverers and breeders an opportunity to be compensated for their efforts. Anyone who finds a new variety or limb sport which may be of interest to others should contact SVC.

The existence of PBR means that royalties will have to be paid for new varieties; this encourages rights holders in other countries to make their varieties available in Canada, and so increases the number of options growers will have for planting. Most new varieties are now protected including those from the Summerland Research and Development Centre (SRDC), Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada.

Growers are invited to test new fruit varieties that are available. Test varieties, where propagation wood is in limited supply, may be distributed in such a way that there is a trial in each district. The aim is to see how varieties perform in a range of conditions. For varieties being tested, a tester’s agreement must be signed with SVC. This includes all unnamed Summerland selections, chance seedlings, and varieties developed in other countries.


Rootstocks for Apples


Malling Series

Most Malling stocks produce trees of smaller than standard size. Malling 9 is by far the most popular stock for this purpose. 

A number of sub-clones of M.9 exist. Dwarf and semi-dwarf roots will require staking for the life of the planting. Most of the M.9 rootstocks planted in the Okanagan valley in the past decade are:

M.9 T337; Similar in size to M.9 EMLA in Summerland.  Tolerant of heavy soils, needs good irrigation in light soils.

M.9 Pajam2; Slightly larger tree; between M.9 and M.26 in size.  No extra suckering in Summerland trials, but reports in the east of increased suckering.

M.9 Nic29; Slightly larger tree; between M.9 and M.26 in size.  No extra suckering in Summerland trials, but reports in the east of increased suckering.

M.9 EMLA; Slightly more vigorous and a virus-free version of Malling 9 from East Malling. Similar in size to M.9 T337 in Summerland.

Budagovsky 9 (B9 or Bud9); Cold hardier and slightly larger than M.9, but smaller than M.26. Precocious and productive.  Growers are encouraged to drive the young trees to the top wire before fruiting occurs, as trees can “runt out” on week soils once tree goes into full production. 

Ottawa 3 (O.3); More cold hardy than M.9 so decreases the risk of winter injury in cold sites.  Precocious and productive, produces a tree slightly larger than M.9 but still smaller then M.26.  Bud take can be poor if using non-certified Budwood with a latent virus infection. If budding scions onto O.3, ensure that the Scionwood is certified virus-free.

M.26; more vigorous than M.9 and only slightly less vigorous than M.7. Trees may require staking in early years or trees will sag to one side as good root development takes 4 to 5 years. Trees often have a characteristic bulge at the bud unions which can scion-root if too close to the ground.  Trees are susceptible to fire blight infection.

Geneva rootstocks; There are a number of new Geneva rootstocks becoming available in the US, some of which are fire blight, replant, and woolly apple aphid resistant.  Stocks are limited and the following comments are based on early trial results from PARC Summerland.

G.16; Similar in tree size to M.9 though greater tree mortality and root suckering. Fruit size and yield was less than M.9.

G.41; Similar in tree vigor to M.9, good survival, high yield efficiency and low root suckering.  Cornell-Geneva reports that this rootstock is cold hardy, resistant to woolly apple aphid, fire blight resistant, and tolerant to replant and crown rot in New York.

G.935; Similar in size to M.26 but with better yield and yield efficiency, though suckering was a problem.  Cornell-Geneva reports that this rootstock is cold hardy, resistant to woolly apple aphids, fire blight, tolerant to replant and crown rot in New York.

Seedling Rootstocks

For economic reasons seedling rootstocks should not be used.

Susceptibility of Rootstocks to Crown Rot

The most popular growth-controlling clonal rootstocks planted in this region are susceptible to crown rot disease. Almost all of our irrigated orchard soils are infested with the fungus that causes it. There are no preventive or curative measures that are considered satisfactory. Heavy losses of trees to this disease have occurred with some of these rootstocks in individual plantings, while in other orchards with the same rootstocks losses have been negligible. There is no explanation yet for these phenomena. However, growers should be warned of the potential hazards from crown rot infection.

The rootstocks shown below are grouped in order of increasing susceptibility.

M.9, M.4, B9;  Losses to crown rot of these stocks have occurred in this region, but they have been relatively rare, thus their use is recommended where their particular degree of vigour is desired.

M.26, O.3; In recent plantings of M.26 crown rot losses have been more frequent than in past years. These losses may be due to winter injury predisposing the rootstock to crown rot.

*MM.104 and MM.106 are so susceptible to crown rot that they are not recommended.

Apple Rootstock Tree Size Chart

Rootstocks for Cherries

Mazzard; Seedling rootstock, large, vigorous, full size tree; not as precocious as other rootstocks. Excellent compatibility with PARC Summerland cherries, currently 95% of BC cherry production is on this rootstock.

F12/1; Clonal rootstock, large, full size tree, slightly more vigorous than Mazzard.  Similar attributes to Mazzard.

Mahaleb; Seedling rootstock.  There are reports of incompatibility with Van and some of its offspring.  As Van is a parent of Stella, which in turn is in the ancestry of almost all commercially self-fertile cherries Mahaleb is not recommended in combination with PARC Summerland cherries. Not advised for heavy, poorly drained soils.

GiselaR (G5); Semi-dwarfing, precocious, used for pedestrian style orchards.  Not recommended in combination with precocious scions such as Sweetheart, 13S2009 (StaccatoTM) , or SPC 103 (SentennialTMas over cropping with small fruit size can occur. Use of virus-free Budwood is extremely important. May not be suitable on soils that are very light. Pruning and irrigation are important to maintain tree vigor.

GiselaR (G6); Semi-dwarfing, larger than G5, precocious.  Ideal for pedestrian style training system and non-precocious scions. Use of virus-free budwood is extremely important.

GiselaR 12 (G12); Standard size tree, good precocity and yield. Low to none root suckering.

KrymskR 5 (VSL-2 cv.); Semi-dwarfing, similar in size to GiselaR 6, more precocious than Mazzard. Sensitive to viruses, only use virus free propagative material.

KrymskR 6 (LC-52 cv.); Dwarfing, similar in size to GiselaR 12. Similar precocity and vigor as GiselaR 6 (more precocious than Mazzard). Sensitive to viruses, only use virus free propagative material.

Colt; Vigorous rootstock that is slightly more precocious than Mazzard but there are reports of it producing more vegetation than fruit in the Okanagan growing region. Winter injury problems are a concern in some years and in colder sites. 

Hardy Rootstocks for Peaches

Siberian C

Siberian C is one of the hardiest rootstocks available for peach production. Siberian C is not only root hardy but induces hardiness of the flower buds and scion. Growers need to fumigate soil though as it is susceptible to root lesion nematodes.


Bailey is an acceptable seedling rootstock that is close to Siberian C in root hardiness. Easy to germinate. Seedlings are susceptible to mildew in the nursery.


Haggith is a hardy, vigorous, rootstock for apricots.

Rootstocks for Pears

Old Home x Farmingdale clones 69 and 87 are recommended as alternatives to Bartlett seedling. Neither provides much size control but both are slightly more precocious and productive. Trials underway indicate that Quince A has potential as a rootstock in the warmer areas of the Okanagan Valley.

Varieties for Commercial and Trial Plantings in B.C.

The information in this section is not intended as specific variety recommendations but is provided to assist in selection of varieties. This information is only a small fraction of the information available on the varieties discussed. Information on other aspects of the variety and from many other sources should be taken into consideration when making a decision on varieties to plant. This information is compiled from a number of sources and local experience. The descriptions of the varieties are intended to assist growers in making planting decisions, but are not recommendations. Your packinghouse should also be consulted prior to making variety decisions. More information is available about the cultural aspects than the marketability of new varieties. 


Proper pollination is essential for the economic production of tree fruits. Some tree fruits such as apples require cross pollination, that is, pollen from the anthers of flowers of one apple variety must be transferred to the stigmas of a different, compatible variety. Not all varieties are compatible. Inadequate pollination results in small crops of low quality fruit. Good pollination helps produce large crops of bigger, better shaped fruit resulting in higher sugar content. Storage qualities and flavor are also improved by proper pollination.

Pollination is a critical but very brief event in the production cycle of all tree fruits, including self-fertile varieties. Good conditions for pollination may exist for only a few hours during bloom. Because of its importance, pollination should be planned and not left to chance.

Tree fruit pollen is heavy and sticky so wind plays a very minor role in its transfer between flowers. Insects are the primary agents in transferring pollen from flower to flower. Honey bees are by far the most important pollinators of tree fruits because they are easily managed and are relatively abundant. Wild bee populations fluctuate from year to year and cannot be relied upon to pollinate large monocultures, such as apple orchards.

There are two main requirements for planned cross pollination:

1. An adequate source of pollen of a compatible variety

2. A bee population large enough to meet the crop’s pollination requirement at the time of bloom.

For a permanent source of pollen, plant the correct number and variety of pollinizer trees, or graft in pollinizer branches with the exception of crabapples. The use of pollen inserts, bouquets and hand applicators act only as stopgap methods.

Pollinizer Varieties

The pollinizer requirements of apple, pear, cherry and apricot plantings are often underestimated. Triploid apple varieties have sterile pollen and cannot be depended on as pollinizers of other apple varieties. Most apples, pears and cherries (except for self-fertile varieties) require pollinizers. Japanese plums require a Japanese pollinizer and European plums require a European pollinizer. Early prune strains benefit from pollinizers if the bloom period is cool. In standard and semi-standard plantings pollinizer varieties should be interplanted, usually, as every third tree in every third row, or a maximum of 18 m from pollinizer to the main variety. It is frequently more convenient to plant every third or fourth row to a pollinizer variety. With Bartlett and Delicious more pollinizers are required. For high-density hedgerows, pollinizer varieties should be planted in the row with a maximum spacing of 15 m. Planting of pollinizers in adjacent rows should be staggered. For further details consult your crop management advisor.

Pollinizer Charts




Managing Honeybees for Pollination

For apples, beehives must be moved in when the king blooms are opening, but not before. In low-density orchards, place two to three hives per hectare. High-density orchards with heavy bloom may require as many as five hives per hectare for optimum pollination.

Pears are less attractive to honeybees, requiring five hives per hectare. Move hives into the orchard when 30 to 50% of the blossoms are open.

Sweet cherries require three hives per hectare. Hives should be placed when the first 10% of the blossoms are open.

Do not keep beehives in orchards year round because insecticides will reduce bee populations or kill colonies. Also, bees placed in the orchards too early will find other attractive floral sources which they may continue to forage on, ignoring the fruit trees that begin to bloom.

Hives used as pollination units should meet the following conditions:

(1) Have a laying queen.

(2) Contain a bee population large enough to cover eight standard combs.

(3) Have at least five standard combs covered with large areas of brood (immature stages of bees) or the equivalent of 0.5 m2 of comb space occupied by brood.

(4) Be free of American Foulbrood Disease and show little or no evidence of other diseases.

(5) Contain a minimum of 4.5 kg of stored food other than pollen or the equivalent of two well-filled standard combs.

Any growers questioning the quality of their pollination units should contact their supplier to arrange for an inspection or arrange for a government inspection by contacting the Apiculture Program, BCMA, Abbotsford (604-556-3129) for the nearest Apiary Inspector.

Planned pollination is an essential part of modern fruit culture and is a co-operative enterprise between beekeeper and orchardist. Consult your crop management advisor for names of beekeepers providing pollination services.

For more information on pollination, contact BCMA Abbotsford office. Also visit BCMA’s web page Bees (Apiculture) for reference material on the pollination process, the biology of bees, various crop requirements and the use of bees to achieve proper pollination.


Honeybees are essential to ensure proper pollination in commercial orchards. Orchardists should take every precaution to avoid bee poisoning during pollination.

Honeybee poisoning seriously impacts both beekeepers and orchardists who depend on bees. Orchardists lose not only their investment in pollination rental fees when the bees are killed but more importantly, crop yield and quality may be reduced because of incomplete pollination. Honeybee poisoning is a result of exposure of foraging bees to pesticides applied to blossoms of fruit trees or cover crops in or near the orchard. Bees may also be poisoned by contaminated water sources or when flying through pesticide mists during applications.

Most orchardists do not spray their trees when in bloom and when beehives are on location. However, accidental poisoning can occur if the bees are foraging on neighboring blocks and vegetation. Honey bees may forage over one kilometer from the hive when the immediately surrounding vegetation does not offer attractive nectar and pollen food sources. Foraging bees carrying contaminated nectar and pollen back to their hives can destroy the hives or reduce their populations so much that no bees will be available for pollination.

Accidental poisonings are more likely to occur where various types of fruit or different varieties of the same fruit are grown in close proximity. It is not unusual for orchardists to apply pesticides to some trees while others are in bloom. For example, cherries or pears may require sprays after bloom while apples are still blooming. Because so many apple varieties are being grown, early varieties may require sprays while bees are nearby pollinating later blooming varieties. The Apple Pollinizer Chart above shows the relative length and overlap of blossom periods of common apple varieties and some crabapple pollinizers.

One way to reduce the risk of bee poisoning is by coordinating the placement and removal dates among orchardists. Furthermore, neighboring orchardists should notify each other and their beekeepers before any pesticides toxic to bees are applied during pollination. If notified in time, beekeepers can confine the bees for a short time or move the hives out temporarily.

The use of IPM and organic fruit production practices greatly reduce the risk of bee poisonings.

Before applying any pesticides when trees or ground vegetation is in bloom, check the table Toxicity of Pesticides to Bees below for the comparative toxicities of pesticides and the length of their residual activities.

The following are additional precautions that will reduce the risk of bee poisoning.

1. DO NOT SPRAY ANY CHEMICAL INSECTICIDE IN ORCHARDS WHEN FRUIT BLOSSOMS ARE OPEN, or when spray drift may contaminate the open blossoms of adjacent orchards. Recommended blossom thinning sprays, fungicides, growth regulators and nutrient sprays are not hazardous to bees. However if applied while bees are actively foraging, the bees may be chilled, disoriented or repelled and crop pollination will cease. If possible, do not spray any pesticide during the pollination period.

2. Mow or beat down flowering cover crops on the orchard floor or at the perimeter of the orchard before applying insecticidal sprays to the (non-flowering) fruit trees.

3. Remove honeybee colonies after pollination is completed and before the spray program begins.

4. Refer to for spray timing recommendations. Some chemicals should be applied only in late evening, during the night or in the early morning while bees are not actively foraging (generally between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.). Evening applications are generally less hazardous to bees than early morning applications. If high temperatures cause bees to start foraging earlier or continue later in the day than usual (before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.), shift application times accordingly.

5. Do not dump unused dusts or sprays where they might become a hazard to bees (and the environment). Bees may sometimes collect any type of fine dust material when pollen is not readily available. Under such conditions, pesticide dusts may be brought back to the colony where the entire population may be poisoned. Bees may also be poisoned when drinking water from contaminated spray dumps.

6. Always select insecticides that are relatively non hazardous to bees whenever possible. Tests have consistently shown that dusts are more hazardous than sprays of the same insecticide. Emulsifiable (liquid) formulations usually have a shorter residual toxicity to bees than wettable powders (WP). Granular formulations are low in hazard to bees. Bees are temporarily inactivated by direct contact with oil sprays and some losses may occur.

Toxicity of Pesticides to Bees



Toxicity to Bees



Use Class

acetamiprid (Assail)

Moderately High

3 hours (dried)


avermectin (Agri-Mek)

Moderately high

1 – 3 days


Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel, Foray,





bifenazate (Acramite)

Moderately high

< 8 hours (dried)


captan (Captan, Maestro)

Moderately high


carbaryl (Sevin Brand XLR Plus)

Moderately high

More than 1 day


chlorantraniliprole (Altacor)




clofentezine (Apollo)




clothianidin (Clutch)




cyantraniliprole (Exirel)




cypermethrin (Ripcord, U-Cyde))


<1 - <3 days


deltamethrin (Decis)

Very high

<1 - 1 day

I - II

dimethoate (Cygon, Lagon)


3 days


dodine (Equal)




flonicamid (Beleaf)


<1 day


formetanate hydrochloride (Carzol)


8 hours

I - II

horticultural oil




imidacloprid (Admire, Alias)


<8 hours (dried)


indoxacarb (Avaunt)

Very high

< 8 hours (dried)


lambda-cyhalothrin (Matador)


> 1 day


malathion (Malathion)

Very high

2 - 6 hours

I - II

methoxyfenozide (Intrepid)

Very Low

< 8 hours (dried)


myclobutanil (Nova)




novaluron (Rimon)

Moderately high

1 day

I - II

phosmet (Imidan)


1 - 4 days


pyridaben (Nexter)

Very high

<4 hours (dried)


simazine (Princep)




spinetoram (Delegate)




spinosad (Success, Entrust)


3 hours (dried)

I - II

spirodiclofen (Envidor)


 1 day

I - II

spirotetramat (Movento)




sulfoxaflor (Closer)




tebufenozide (Confirm)


<8 hours


thiacloprid (Calypso)




thiamethoxam (Actara)

Very high

5 -14 days


Use Class: Appropriate Spray Timing

I Very poisonous to bees; do not apply to crops or weeds in bloom unless bees are kept off for the period that residue on the crop is a hazard.

II Moderately toxic to bees; avoid direct application to bees, but may be applied with minimum hazard in late evening when bees are not foraging. (See Caution). 

III Not very poisonous to bees; can be applied at any time with reasobale safety to bees may. All fungicides are in this category unless otherwise noted in the table. (See Caution)

Caution: Timing of insecticide applications in respect to bee poisoning hazard can be drastically modified by abnormal weather conditions. If temperatures are unusually low following treatment, residues on the crop may remain toxic to bees up to 20 times as long as during reasonably warm weather. Conversely, if abnormally high temperatures occur during late evening or early morning, bees may actively forage on the treated crop during these times. Morning dew can also make residues toxic to foraging bees.

Information Sources:

Characteristics of Insecticides in 2015 Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook. A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication (replaces PNW518), Oregon State University.

Hazards and Safeguards in Applying Insecticides to Crops in Bloom. Western Committee on Crop Pests Guide to Integrated Control of Insect Pests of Crops. (2013)

Publication 360 - Guide to Fruit Production: Chapter 11 - Bee Poisoning. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. (2014-15)