This is a follow-up post from the previous espalier apple post. Our 1929 bungalow came with a neglected yard. It had several weedy elm trees,large chokecherry bushes, weeds and overgrown lilacs. One lilac was even blocking the entrance to the garage. This little crab apple flourished as I removed lawn and added gardens to the front. The only problem was that as it grew larger it gave even more tiny, tiny crab apples. The apples were without flavor and even the abundant deer avoided them. Then in the fall they would all fall. Sometimes 2 or 3 wheel barrows full of squishy apples which would also stain the side walk. I told my husband I was sure that the reason this tree was named a crab apple was because it made their owners "crabby" I certainly did not enjoy cleaning up after this beautiful one time blooming tree. So as part of my lowering the maintenance of the front yard, we cut it down. Yes, we did that! And we dug out it's stump making room for my ground cover gardens. My being "crabby" was not the only reason for getting the chain saw out. The large shade elm had also flourished and the yard looked overcrowded.
Now the reason for this very public confession is that this crab apple was a good pollinator for my neighbor's apple tree and my grafted espaliered copy of the same tree. About every apple needs another type of apple as a pollinator (except for, I learned, Queen Cox which is self-fertile) The recommended maximum distance between pollinators is about 100ft, some say 50 yards. This seems to be the distance that bees will travel with pollen from one apple to another. My neighbor does have a pollinator maybe 175 ft on the other side of his yard. But, my little espaliered apple has nothing close. So every spring, I pick a bouquet of crab apple flowers and place them in a bucket under the little espalier. Am I doing penance? The bees work both flowers and we have apples. Ted says that maybe we should add another espaliered apple variety. We'll see. I don't know where I would put it.