Thinning fruit

This morning I spent 3+ hours thinning two mature peach trees. I’ve thinned apples, A pears, E pears and peaches for the past few years.

To me, apples are the easiest to thin because they have clusters of 5 and the king fruit are the biggest. Making a decision which ones to keep is easy. Pears are in clusters, too, though more pears in a cluster. I find choosing which 1-2 pears per cluster to keep is not difficult,

Peach thinning is harder. They are so many same size peachlets all along branches. Only one in every 6-8" is allowed to stay. I’ve found thinning peach is very time consuming and the most difficult to do emotionally.

What are your thoughts?


Don’t look at what’s on the ground. Concentrate on what’s left on the tree. It’s not emotional for me unless tedium counts as an emotion.

Try thinning Asian pears. You’ll see what I mean about tedious.

Yes, thinning is not the funniest thing to do and it’s emotionally tasking. Also, my wife always tells me I didn’t thin enough. :wink: It’s just something that has to be done.

I have two mature A pears. I still think that thinning peaches is more tedious. With A pears, they have long stems, I use small scissors and the snipping gets it done much faster than hand-thinning peaches. The only problem with A pears that slow me down is their leaves. Ears can hide under those leaves.

I know you don’t but I do get emotional when thinning peaches esp. the donuts ones. They are cute :smile:

@Stan, though most people say, they don’t thin enough. I sometimes, wish I left a few more fruit.



Various peaches and a nectarine. That was my first quadruplet.


The one on the left was from Arctic Star. The one on the right was from a graft labeled Arctic Glo. Obviously, the graft was mislabeled. Fortunately, I have a second Arctic Glo graft. The second graft produces a correct fruit, a nectarine.

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This year, I have more fruitlets than peach leaves. Any peachlets not having enough leaves were gone.


And after.

Red Baron had almost all the fruit with twins and triplets. Almost no single.

Thinning is very time consuming. Still, I should not complain as many of us have stone fruit wiped out by freeze. A lot more thinning to do.


Wow! Can you do some pickling?

Those are a thumbsize or smaller. I need to wait for 2 or 3rd round of thinning before I pm Annie @IL847 for a recipe. Her salt and dried peaches looked delish.

I wish Annie posted her recipes 3 years ago when peach limbs broke and I had tons of golf ball size and bigger peaches but did not know what to do wth them.

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Wow you are ruthless…pretty much took ‘em all out!


What about cherries and berries do you think those?

That’s just from on mature but medium size tree. Had my tree have more leaves, I might have left a bit more. This time some space over a foot aparT. For many small twigs, I took them all off.

Sad to say, bigger peachlets were on those twigs :weary:.

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For cherries, I only have Black Gold sweet cherries. It set a lot and self-thinns quite a bit. By the time it stops shedding baby cherries, there is no need to thin. At least, I don’t have to.

When I grew blueberries, I did thin them to size up thevremaining and to improve fruit quality. I don’t have other berries.

I’m going to have a lot of peach thinning to do as well in a couple of weeks…ugh.

It took me several hours to thin two medium size trees. I have seen pics of your beautiful orchard. I am not envious of you!!

I somehow missed this thread but would have told you how much I agree- thinning peaches is just so hard for me (emotionally and physically). Hardest of anything. But when I see your huge collection of thinned peaches, I can’t even imagine how much harder it would be if I had to actually stop and throw my culled peaches into a container. It is sooo much easier and faster, to me, when I just pluck them and let them fall to the ground. I’ve done a lot of reading and from what I’ve read OFM and PC won’t use discards on the ground and I know Olpea/Mark and most big orchards leave them on the ground, so I’ve felt pretty good about doing that. My little culls dry up and go away so fast that I doubt the could harbor much disease, but now seeing that you go to all this trouble worries me . I’m sure its safer, but I wonder if its worth the extra effort/work/time.

Have you, Tippy, or anyone else ever seen any strong evidence on this question? How much danger is there in leaving the little culls under the tree?

This was the first time my discarded peachlets had very small number of PC (or OFM) marks on them.

I do not leave PC, CM or OFM damaged fruitlets on the ground. My spraying regiment has not been consistently effective. I probably have had more pest damaged fruitlets than you d9 by the time I thin them. That’s why I don’t let them on the ground.

AHHH…makes perfect sense. Never considered that might be the reason. If they already had an egg in them then I completely understand why you wouldn’t want to leave them. I was thinking maybe you were concerned about one of the insect enemies laying eggs in them AFTER you picked them, which my understanding is they won’t do. But I can also imagine that culled fruit might harber fungi like brown rots perhaps, so I was wondering if that was your concern and if so if that is a known problem. As I said, mine dry up and disappear so quickly that I doubt even fungi would be a problem, but of course we are always warned to keep a clean orchard so I could envision baby fruits being an issue. But with all my trees, I’ll probably keeping taking a chance!

Kevin @thecityman A few year ago, my many peachlets had holes in them. I left them in a bucket in my garage for several days. When I went to empty the bucket, there were several worms crawling at the bottom of it. Disgusting sight if you ask me!!

Since they crawled, I assume they were OFM worms. It proved to me that damaged fruit should really be picked up and go out with trash.

You are so right about brown rotted or mummified fruit should be treated the same way, too.

I do think about them a lot! Usually cherries on dwarfing rootstock produce too many near the terminal end of branches, so removing 1/2 to 2/3 of new growth helps with the leaf to fruit ration. As they tend to overproduce cherries at the tips. Berries no thinning.