Hand Thinning of Fruit Trees

News Article

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:

  1. obtain large, high quality fruit at harvest
  2. allow development of flower buds for next year's crop, thus overcoming the tendency for some fruit trees to bear fruit in alternate years
  3. 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.