I’m in the West end of Toronto near Bloor and Landsdowne. I have an Empire apple tree in the backyard that gets lots of blossoms but very few apples (2-3 per year). I don’t know if this is a bee issue or I need a pollinator nearby. Either way I have decided to get another tree but I’m finding lots of conflicting information about what other apple types will pollinate (or not) the Empire. Can you add some clarity to this? Which apple types will work with the Empire?
Thanks so much in advance.
Your Empire apple tree is only partially self-fertile, so, as you suggest, it can be helped by the presence of another apple tree. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has an excellent publication on growing Empire apples, which includes a list of varieties that will pollinate it, check it out here. Idared, McIntosh, Gala and Cortland Apple trees are your best chance as these pollenizers flower just before the king flowers on the Empire come into bloom. The pollenizer tree should be situated within 35 m of your Empire tree.
You may also want to check out the OMAFRA website for general information about growing apples successfully: Apple Crops
Good luck with increasing your apple production!