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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thin Peaches and Nectarines

Peach fruit too close together
Thinning, or the removal of fruit by hand, is an important step in growing larger and higher-quality peaches and nectarines. Enough fruit is removed from the tree so that the remaining fruit gets larger. We typically target this fruit to reach the size of 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Peach fruit before thinning
Peach fruit after thinning
I like to relate this concept to something we can all appreciate; money. If you have an income that does not get any bigger and you have a family, the larger the income the more money you can spend on each individual in the family. If you have a dozen children then each of the children will receive less. If you have 3 children, then you can afford to spend more on each of those 3 children.
Peach fruit before thinning

Is the same with the fruit tree. The income for the tree is the sunlight, water and nutrients taken from the soil. A tree that is 10 feet tall can only gather a certain amount of light, water and nutrients from the soil. If the tree has 1000 fruit on it, the fruit may be the size of a coin. But if the fruit is thinned so that only 200 fruit remain, then the fruit might be the size of a small ball. Thinning of fruit is important to increase the size of the remaining fruit.
Peach fruit after thinning
Remove enough peach and apricot fruit so that the remaining fruit is 4 inches apart. As you are thinning or removing the fruit, remove fruit that is damaged or deformed 1st. Favor fruit that hangs from the bottom of the branch rather than the top of the branch. It is harder for birds to pack fruit on the bottom of the branch than the top of the branch.

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