Fruit too high in tree to thin

I have a peach (and maybe apple) that have fruit that is too high to reach with my 8ft step ladder.
So much fruit that it may break branches from the tree. About my only options right now are to leave them as is or lop those branches from the tree.

I understand that I should have kept the tree at a height that I could manage but I did not.
I have kept the apples just short enough that I could thin them this year. Next year I will work the apples more and shorten this Peach, but what would you do now?

On the bright side. It looks like I may have a bumper crop of fruit this year despite the fact that several did not fruit be cause of biennial.

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If your able to, try shaking the branches. Sometimes you can get some off with that.

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Thanks that is a good idea, , I tried that, they are hooked on pretty good. I went out and looked after writing the post and may have a brutal answer… I thought to myself, you know I could probably get a long stick and beat them off of the branches. LOL :slight_smile:

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The stick will work. I’ve done that before. A lot of mine drop on their own, so I’m kind of lazy on the thinning.

Actually “pole thinning” is a real thing. Here is a part of an old post I made that deals with issues you are facing.

Well if you have existing large trees there are ways to reduce ladder use and save some time too. For pruning I would suggest one of those telescoping pole saw/pruning head combos. I have a Corona brand one. It works well for pruning my cherry that is a Balaton on mazzard. I can do the pruning from the ground and it’s a good sized tree.

For thinning, I have a couple of suggestions. First, you may want to look up and try pole thinning. Essentially you take a pole or broom handle and attach a piece of rubber hose or sometimes people tape a piece of cloth or padding to the end of the pole. Then you beat the branches to remove excess fruit. It takes some practice to get the technique down but it works.

Another option is chemical thinning, commercial orchards use this method. Non-organic orchards tend to use an carbaryl insecticide mixed with naphthalene acetic acid to do the thinning. Organic orchards use a mixture of lime sulfur and fish oil. In any case the mixture is sprayed on the trees. I have never done chemical thinning and would want to do a fair amount of reading before using it but it could be an option for you.

As far as harvesting from high branches my grandfather used a fruit picker 40 years ago. It was a basket on pole and designed to be used to pick fruit. They still sell fruit pickers. Home Depot carries them for example.

Yup, I have a fruit picker. I was just trying to get the fruit either thin or gone from the very high branches.
Making this post got me thinking and I now have a 4 foot pole with a hook on the end. Just the right hook to get around them and turn it.

I have the same problem with my “dwarf” peach trees. They are at least 16+’ tall. I use one of those fruit picking poles with the small basket attached to the top of the pole to get most of the fruit on a ladder.

I have the peach just like I want it now. a 3/4" 4ft dowel with a large hanger? hook in the end.
It was VERY handy. I’m actually going to start using it in the orchard for things that my ladder would reach. It is easier. and I do have a basket for harvest. I was just thinning for now.

Commercial growers often use brutal methods to knock off surplus peaches. I think you are overly concerned- whether you use a broom or a baseball bat you will do not permanent harm to your tree if you knock of some leaf clusters in the process.

What’s more, no better time to remove those too high branches than the present- the closer to right now the better.

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I wondered about that. Is it OK to remove them now or better while Dormant?
Sorry, I reread your post and seems to say that now is good.

I spent a lot of time picking peaches off of limbs that I’m now going to lop off. LOL

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