My Desert Delight nectarine is in its second year of fruiting. Each year it has fruited very heavily and I thinned it to about 3-4 inches between fruit. I lost the whole crop last year because the fruit rotted from the bottom up. I noted: thrip damage at the base of fruit, and earwig feeding at the base of the fruit. The fruit was also undersized (2-2.5"). This year I sprayed spinosad after bloom, when fruit was tiny (about 1/4"), but it didn't stop the thrips (too late?) At what stage should I spray to stop thrips on a nectarine?
I used tanglefoot to keep the earwigs out, and that seems to have worked. The base rot last year was probably caused by the earwigs eating away the skin at the base of the fruit. Why did they attach the fruit there? It's a harder place to get to then the stem end. Did the thrip damage, which is only at the base, make that end a more attractive target, or do earwigs prefer the base for some other reason?
I expect a good harvest, but the fruit is undersized, in the 2" to 2.5" range. Are early nectarines like Desert Delight normally small, or am I doing something wrong? Does thrip damage stunt fruit, or just scar it? I didn't thin until the fruit was about an inch in diameter, and I needed to remove about 75% of the fruit just to get 3-4" spacing between what was left. Would thinning more, or earlier make a significant difference?
The tree leafed out nicely, and gets full sun. My soil is a little alkaline. The area around the tree is mulched and I don't fertilize at all.
Thanks for any advice you can give to help me beat the thrips, understand the earwigs, and increase fruit size.