Q: My local nursery is selling fruit trees at a discount because they are getting ready for fall. I have been trying to decide if I want to plant a peach tree or a pear tree. I think I really only have room for one tree. I have read that I need to get two pear trees if I want to get fruit. Is there any way around this situation if I decide I want the pears?
A: Most fruit tree types are self-pollinating, but some are not. To get fruit from apples, pears, sweet cherries, and plums, you usually need another tree from a different variety. A few of the self-pollinating types of trees will produce more fruit that is larger in size if they are pollinated from a different variety.
The most common pear is the Bartlett, which is self-pollinating. It has better production if there is a cross-pollinating tree nearby. There are some pears that are self-pollinating, such as Collette Everbearing, Comice, Hosui, Kieffer, Monterrey, Nuisseiki, Seckel, Stark Honeysweet, Sugar, and Warren. There are also potential incompatibility problems as some fruit trees don’t cross-pollinate each other, even when both varieties need other varieties to be pollinated. For instance, the Bartlett won’t cross-pollinate with the Seckel variety.
There are European pears and Asian pears. They can cross-pollinate, but Asian pears tend to bloom later than the Europeans. By not blooming at the same time, they don’t cross-pollinate. A few of the Europeans do bloom late enough to pollinate some Asian pears.
Peaches are self-pollinators, so they don’t need the extra tree. However, you might consider a second peach tree to get a longer season of fruit ripening. Some peaches produce fruit several weeks earlier than others, so you can have a longer season of eating fresh peaches by having more than one variety.
Q: I watched the time-lapse videos on your YouTube channel, and they are fascinating. I am amazed at how much a flower petal moves when the flower buds open. Can you explain how the videos are created?
A: I am glad you like them. They are fun to make. I have some video cameras that can be set to take a single video frame at certain intervals. I almost always use a setting that takes an individual picture frame once every 80 seconds.
Computers, phones, and televisions play videos at various rates such as 24, 30, and 60 frames per second (plus many others). Generally, the time-lapse videos are played at 30 frames per second. That means that 30 frames taken 80 seconds apart for a total of 40 minutes will play back in only one second. One minute of video takes 40 continuous hours to make. Some flowers open in just a few hours, while others take more than a week.
Some of the videos are taken outdoors, but I prefer to do the videos in a dark room with a black background. I set up lights and the cameras at various angles to capture the flowers from different viewpoints. Some plants cooperate and bloom quickly. Other plants move the whole stem out of the camera’s view, and some plants just wilt.
There is no wind in the room, so all the movement of the flowers is created by the flowers themselves. Some just open while others swing wildly back and forth. I will post a new time-lapse video on the first day of each month.