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Orange trees are self-pollinators and don’t need another orange tree around to produce fruit, thats the good news. However, even though they’re self-pollinators, it doesn’t hurt to help the process of pollinating orange trees along. The issue comes with orange trees grown in greenhouses and inside homes were nature can’t take care of the process.
Why orange trees may need help pollinating
For orange trees to self-pollinate, the pollen from one flower on the tree must reach another flower; it actually transferred from the stamen, the male part, to the pistil, the female part. This is usually done by pollinating insects such as bees or even the wind. This works well if your orange tree is in the garden at pollinating time – nature looks after this. But if the tree is in your home, there’s not much opportunity for the pollen to move around naturally. This is where you come in.
How to pollinate your orange tree
The easiest method is to gently shake the flowers on your tree and let the pollen fall out onto the flowers below. However, this method doesn’t guarantee pollination as the pollen has to fall into the inside of the other flowers, and this may not happen, so I recommend the methods below so you can directly polinate the flowers.
Use a cotton bud
Place a cotton bud inside a flower and wipe the pollen onto it. Then take the cotton bud to another flower and wipe the pollen off inside that flower. This deposits the pollen inside the flower and has a good chance of pollination. However, some of the pollen may remain clinging to the cotton bud so you don’t get a full transfer, but I’ve had a lot of success using this method and most people have them in their homes already.
Use a brush
This is similar to using a cotton bud but gives you more control over where to pick the pollen up from and where to deposit it. Additionally, you can gently tap the brush on the flower to release all the pollen. Use a soft, fine-tip art paintbrush for best results.
Battery-driven pollination tool
A battery-driven pollination tool has vibrating bristles to distribute the pollen evenly in the flowers. This gives the best coverage for successful pollination.