Many fruit trees bloomed heavily this spring and have set a large crop. Unfortunately, some fruit trees are bearing too many fruit. Trees loaded with fruit should be thinned to:
- obtain large, high quality fruit at harvest
- allow development of flower buds for next year's crop, thus overcoming the tendency for some fruit trees to bear fruit in alternate years
- prevent limb breakage.
Hand thinning of apples should be done within 6 weeks of full bloom or by approximately mid-June. Leave the largest apple in a cluster unless it is damaged. After thinning, the apples should be spaced about 8 to 10 inches apart on the branches. Pears, plums, and apricots should be spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart on the branches.
This article originally appeared in the June 9, 1993 issue, p. 85.