Thinning Peaches with Baseball Bat

After three 22 degree nights during peach bloom, I was not expecting many peaches this year. The Contender trees surprised me because they were loaded with so many peaches I used a baseball bat for my first thinning pass. Used my son’s aluminum bat from high school baseball. Hit each scaffold pretty hard and lots of fruit hit the ground. I noticed that some of the Contender trees had so many peaches they were not leafing out properly and they looked very stressed from the extreme fruit load. I will hand thin on the second pass and remove all the fruit with catfacing damage and adjust the spacing.

Almost no fruit on Rich May, Next year, I’m going to remove lot more fruiting wood from the Contenders when I prune and leave a lot more on the lower chill hours peaches like Rich May



Glad to hear things are going well for some varieties. I’ve found varietal differences to be very significant.

Some varieties don’t produce much and nothing at all with the least environmental challenge. Rich May is reported to be productively challenged. I noticed it as well.

I’ve continued to notice varieties which don’t produce and try to slowly remove them. To be sure, productivity is just one criteria for keeping/removal. and flavor are probably the biggest others. Size only comes into play when it is extremely/unusually small.

Some varieties I’m looking at now for removal are Salem (never produced hardly anything) and Sentry (although did a little better this year, but still not full). PF 28-007 was another loser this year, as well as Coralstar and 24-007. Messina hasn’t seemed to produce much for the last few years either.

Like you, I’ve had a mixed bag this year and still thinning. Some varieties have 250-350 peachlets after thinning, others are nearly blank. I pruned/thinned some Salem yesterday with 20 peaches on full sized trees. Redhavens and donuts have decent crops, as do some early peaches like Earlystar, Garnet Beauty, Early Redhaven, etc.

Anyway, the non productive ones (as well as the ones which are highly susc. to bac. spot) tend to stand out.

I’m really starting to recognize Allstar is a very productive peach. I remember Geraldo in the old forum said it was super productive, but never saw that with my one tree in the backyard that I cut down because it was in a bad spot. I have two trees of it at the farm, and indeed found it to be very productive. It has to be picked firm ripe, otherwise it can get mealy in 100 degree weather.

I continue to like/recommend Glenglo for a moderately early peach.

I really like that peach too. A local orchard has Glenglo which was excellent when I tried it a few years ago. They got wiped out last year, just like I did. I’m not sure how their Glenglo did this year.

Its a real challenge to find varieties to fill each ripening window which require over 850 chill hours, have some resistance to bacterial spot, reasonable taste, production and tree availability! Early June until late August is my target date.

If I had a chance to start again, I would change a few varieties that I have in production which are going into year 5. However at this point, I have to push forward with the varieties in the ground. I struck out with my Rich May this year , but they were great in year 3 and they have performed well in my area for several large growers. Some peach connoisseurs avoid clingstone peaches like Rich May, but I liked the yield, taste, size and texture. Wish it was 1050 chill hours like Contender.

I have 10 Glenglos in two different locations in the orchard. Most of them performed reasonably well this year in terms of crop set. A few on the lower end of the orchard didn’t set much fruit at all, but overall I’m pleased with the fruit set since I’ve been growing it.

I plan to graft 6 more this spring, if the weather will ever warm.

I’ll admit it’s tough to change varieties once you get the tree grown and figure out it’s a dud. The temptation is to wait “a little longer” to see if it will pan out. I know this because I still do it.

I’ve read Rich May (FlavorRich) is a viable East Coast peach. It just didn’t work here because of fruit set, bac. spot and poor sugar development in our climate.

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