Preventing cross pollination

Kenneth Hixson
Tue, 16 Feb 2010 19:44:41 PST
HI,  Justin
> I am curious though as to how cross pollination is prevented

	There is a technological innovation called aluminum foil--
make a piece small/large enough to cover the subject, place over the
stigma, gently press to mold it in place, walk away.  On larger
stigmas, such as lilies, the aluminum foil can be molded around a
pencil or the like, then dropped in place and pressed closed.
A supply of one inch squares of foil can be cut in advance, rolled
or folded as needed, and used as needed, quickly and easily.
	Once the flower fades, the stigma will probably drop off,
and you may want to pick up the small pieces of foil, so either remove
the foil when the flower fades, or just leave it to be picked up 
later--depending on your personal standards of garden neatness.  If you 
want to prevent foreign pollen while allowing removal of the foil, add a 
small tab of masking tape so you can grab the tape and open the foil, 
add pollen of choice, replace the foil.
	"cling wrap" will work--but may be harder to manage.  You
may also find it possible to find paper bags such as are used to
put tea in(made for people who buy loose tea from tins).  For larger 
flowers such as roses, there are small muslin bags which are used for 
tossing rice after wedding ceremonies.  One person buys the smallest
plastic bags he can find (made for collecting stamps or coins), he cuts
of a small corner, drops them over the flower (the clipped off corner
allows moisture to escape, and allows a flower stem to project from
the bag if the pollinating flower is left in place until pollination
takes place).
	Light weight cloth such as is used for lining draperies can
be formed into small cylinders, taped or glued closed (a hot melt glue 
gun is handy sometimes), dropped over the stigma, removed and replaced 
as necessary.  Even an old handkerchief or shirt fabric can be cut into 
small pieces and pressed into use.

	Paper clips can be used in place of tape, but they weigh more, and 
unless plastic, will probably rust.

	If you are only trying to prevent pollination, without expecting
to obtain seeds, nip off the end of the stigma--it won't be very 
noticeable to most people, and seed will almost never form.  Even
masking tape will work--and if necessary it could be colored to be
less noticeable in the flower.

	FWIW, the local orchard society sells "footlets", of the same
material as pantyhose, but only enough to cover the foot.  Placed over
developing fruit, it expands as the fruit develops, and seems to prevent 
access by fruit pests/maggots.  The same strategy could be used on 
flower stems to prevent pollenation, or to protect developing seed pods.


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