Today I’m passing some valuable information along without edit. It’s from the Weekly Orchard Pest Update, Utah State University Extension, June 7 , 2013.
Peaches needing thinned.
It is time to thin apples and peaches. Both of these crops usually set more fruit than the tree can carry to harvest. Although for this year, many of you will have noticed by now a small peach crop due to some spring frosts and winter kill.
Thinning the extra fruit is important not only to get a good crop of fruit this year, but to get a decent crop next year. Excess fruit that remains too long on the tree will impact fruit size, formation of flower buds, crop potential for the following year, and overall tree health. An overload of fruit greatly reduces the tree’s carbohydrate reserves and can also affect the tree’s ability to withstand disease and winter injury.
Although fruit will naturally drop from the tree (“June drop”), the amount is insufficient to assure optimal fruit size. Natural drops typically stem from unfertilized seed, cold injury, competition between fruit, or excessive shading.
Start thinning peaches when they are the size of a robin’s egg, and before apples are 3/8 inch in diameter.
Proper fruit spacing.
Remove the fruit either by hand or, on taller trees, hitting unwanted fruit with children’s plastic bats, rubber hoses, or other soft object. (Hand thinning is the optimal option.)
1. pick off the smallest fruits and any that are misshaped or damaged.
2. for apples, reduce clusters to one apple each
3. adequately space the remaining fruits to about 4 to 6 inches apart along the shoot or twigs. A moderate-sized peach tree, for example, should only produce 100 to 150 fruits on the entire tree.
I learned this lesson from hard knock experience. With fruit trees, less is actually more. It is far preferable to get a smaller number of large beautiful fruit than to get a whole tree full of fruit that is too small to be useful. This year it appears that I won’t have to do too much thinning on my peach tree, but I will be thinning probably 75% of the fruit from my Honeycrisp apple tree.
As I examined my peach tree yesterday I also noticed some aphids developing. Be sure to keep an eye out and spray as needed.