“Last year…the second pass was 363 peaches from one medium small sized tree and there were other lesser thinnings later…and before. I know the number because I put them all in 5 gal. buckets and my wife counted them with my kids as a counting exercise.”
That’s pretty cool you counted them. I’ve never done that. I’ve always just read peaches over-set by 80-90%.
Considering a full sized tree will carry about 400 good sized peaches, doing the math (400 divided by 15%) comes to 2666 peaches starting out (less the 400 which are left to grow to harvest) would equal 2266 peachlets which need thinned off. Like I say, I’ve never counted them, but I’ve seen peach fruitlets solid on the ground after thinning.
Of course the example above is fraught with all kinds of error because some varieties set much heavier than others, and of course weather plays a huge role.
I’ve told this story before, but I still find it amusing, and perhaps someone here hasn’t read it, but I once talked to a big peach grower up on the MO river about thinning. He said he once had an employee who would never thin hard enough. No matter how much he discussed it with this employee, he couldn’t get him to thin enough. Finally, to make a point, he went out and picked a random tree with the employee and told him to thin every single peach off the tree (i.e. don’t leave a single fruit). The employee did as he was told and they marked the tree. Come harvest time, the employee was shocked that tree had a decent crop on it!