Thinning fruit, Easier Said Than Done!


I was busy so just had time to thin plums today. They have already self-thinned quite a bit. Still some varieties set so many fruit. For J plums, Shiro sets heavily. Beauty came second.

For Euro, Castleton continues to produce lots of fruit. It is hard to thin them off because Castleton tastes very good.


Got my last apple thinning done yesterday. This was the third round of thinning. I thinned while bagging. I sprayed twice before bagging because I needed to wait for the fruit to size up a bit. I also know that I have serious pest pressure that attack fruit as soon as they set.

Judging from several bite marks on some apples, I am glad I sprayed before I bagged. Otherwise, there would not have been many good apples left to bag.


Do you remove all fruit from the grounds? I hope you use a tarp so you aren’t throwing them in a container and wasting time.

I have a feeling you’ve figured that out.

I hate thinning- it is especially difficult when I’m thinning my own trees because I tend to waste too much time trying to leave only the biggest fruit. Probably best to make some effort to do so but let her rip and tear through the trees so fruit falls like rain- at least when you have a large established orchard.

My first full time helper worked in a commercial orchard for ten years and taught me how to do that.

If anyone wants to camp out here and thin fruit for $25 dollars an hour- I’m hiring. Just started thinning my clients fruit yesterday, and even though apple set is relatively modest (after last years bumper crop) stone fruit is making up for it. In this economy it’s impossible to get competent temporary help.


I only have 3 apple trees that producing heavily so it is not too much work. I do pick up dropped apples and plums ( plums were so clean, almost no bite marks). I did not pick up all peachlets at my first round thinning because I did it so early, no bite marks and there were too many of them to pick up.

I like your suggestion of using tarp under the trees. Thank you. Will use it next year.


$25 an hour for thinning fruit!!! Wish I could work for you. I have a feeling that thinning someone else’s fruit is a lot easier emotionally than thinning my own fruit :):grin:


You got’m bad!

I usually do the thin/bag thing too, but not enough fruit this year to thin

Maybe the poor pickings put off the PC, too - I had almost no bites, just CM stings on the Kieffer pears


My pears are very clean comparing to apples. I saw several apples with multiple bites like that. I saw signs of coddling moth entries (near stem ends) and PC’s crescent shape bites.

OFM are busy with my peaches. They all have their favorites. I, hate them all.


My semi-dwarf apples seem to thin themselves. Only the king flower sets fruit in most of the clusters. Some clusters will set 2 or none. It’s rare to see 3 or more in a cluster. The giant seedling apples will set about 2-3 per clusters on average, but they can support a higher apple density.


I’m trying to get my grapes thinned this year but it’s taking longer than I anticipated. It’s their first year at producing a good crop so I’m picking and choosing the right clusters to keep, very time consuming, I’m moving at a turtles pace.


Lately, several of my apricot dropped for no reason. One one branch, all 6-7 of them dropped. These were full size apricots that are waiting to turn color. Have you or anyone experienced that?

@scottfsmith, @BobVance, @mrsg47, Are these normal? I can’t figure out why. This is my first year of apricots. At this rate of dropping, I may not have any left. Yikes!!!


Same happened to my tree which I think dropped ~50% of its load, and that was after thinning to 4-6” apart. In my case I assumed it is because of spraying with copper a few days earlier. My tree suffered from shot hole before, that’s why I sprayed it together with the nectarines that are susceptible to bacterial spot. The apricot tree seemed much more sensitive to copper as I saw phytotoxicity symptoms on the leaves more severe than the nectarines. The nectarines did not drop a single fruit after spraying. My theory is that the apricot tree went through a state of shock after the spray and couldn’t support that many fruits on it.


I’ve never sprayed copper during growing season. Only one spray at dormant. I think it should not effect my case re. copper spray.

How big were your apricots that dropped? Were they dropped right after copper spray? I did spray fungicide and pesticide.


It could be June drop, its June after all :grin: I always have some apricots drop for no reason but don’t recall having half of them drop; maybe on a young tree more can drop.

You did cut some open and check for PC I presume. Once the seed hardens squirrels can cause drop in the process of grabbing some fruits but its a bit early for you on that one.


They were about one third to one half the size of mature apricots. They started dropping a couple of days after I sprayed, which was three weeks ago, and continued for about two weeks. I also sprayed Captan together with the copper, which the CA label prohibits spraying on cot trees after shuck split, not sure why (could be that apricot fruits are sensitive to it). I was not aware of the CA rule when I sprayed, otherwise I would have followed it.

Also, my tree is a third leaf tree, quite healthy and vigorous. It had north of a couple hundred fruits before the copper spray.


No PC signs inside or outside, and no squirrels- I have been very active trapping them, and I rarely see any near my trees.

I also forgot to mention that some of the apricots developed a light brown discoloration and some even had wrinkled skin, so I think that the fruits too are sensitive to the copper, not only the leaves. In the case of peaches, the literature says fruits are much more tolerant of copper than foliage.


Your tree sounds like it had too big a load for its age so it shed a bunch. Thats not uncommon in fruit trees, my cots haven’t done that in my memory but peaches have done it often. If the leaves still look completely healthy I doubt the sprays had any effect. Apricot leaves start to curl when they get unhappy from a spray.


No, the leaves did not look healthy after spraying, they looked wilted and developed some pale brown spots.

P.S. I edited my last comment above.


Ah. Indeed that doesn’t sound good at all. Apricots do seem more chemical sensitive. I haven’t sprayed mine with anything for almost a month now for that reason. I probably erred in the other direction though as I am seeing peach scab on some varieties.


It happened to me last year. All dropped but one. How old is your tree. My tree is hanging on to ten this year. It gets netted today! My other two apricot trees dropped all of their fruit and blossoms this year.


Yes, I get a lot of dropping from apricots