Nectarine thinning

fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)March 30, 2014

Hi, I have a desert delight nectarine tree that is fruiting for the first time, we have has it for about a year and it is about 5 feet tall. It is covered with fruit the size of a dime to the size of a half dollar. How many fruit should I leave on the tree. Thanks.

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Pull them all. Let the roots develop another year without putting resources into fruit. Get the branches at a nice 60 degree angle. It will pay off over the remaining life of the nectarine tree in zone 10.

Next year thin them 4"-8" apart starting at the tip of the branch and work you way in. Generally select the biggest...but in your area ones tucked under foliage might be better if it ripens in July or later.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 5:46PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I would leave a couple and yank the rest. As Fascist said it would probably be best to remove them all but a couple won't hurt. If you leave too many you really risk harming the tree.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:20PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've never hurt a tree, bush, or vine by leaving fruit on a young plant. The key is to not leave too much. I've got a couple newly planted bare roots right now with fruit. I'm going to leave two flat nectarine on Sauzee King and about 6 pluots on Dapple Supreme. As long as the tree is growing well it won't hurt even newly planted trees much less second leaf trees.

On a five ft second leaf nectarine I might leave 6 maybe 8 fruit (a picture of the tree would give a better estimate) but only on branches strong enough to support the fruit without sagging. If it's too much weight it's way too much fruit. Think about the tree supporting 1/2 to 3/4 lb fruit not those little things on there now. Also think about how well it's growing. You need way more leaves than fruit.

I've gotten 6-8 bunches of grapes on 2nd leaf grapes in pots. Followed up by 12 bunches the 3rd leaf and maybe 15 this year. That's maxed out yield in 12 gal pots.

If your goal is big trees grow trees a few years. If you want fruit go for it just don't get greedy early on.

I've gotten as much as 3-4 lbs on 2nd leaf blueberries that grew 4ft the first year. I'll post pictures of those if anyone likes.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sun, Mar 30, 14 at 18:52

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:45PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

I ended up thining about 45 fruitlets from the tree. Yeesh. There are about 10 left so I'll probably leave about 5-6 in the end. There are tons of leaves and it is growing nicely. I want the tree to grow well but I would also love to have a few nectarines so I think I'll leave a few as long as it won't hurt the tree. Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:33PM
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alan haigh

I depends on what the tree has to deal with as well. You are presumably going to be able to water the tree throughout the season, the tree also has a long season there in leaf after harvest (I'm assuming, don't know the variety). Fruitnut does his growing primarily in pots that will be irrigated and aren't even going to obtain tree size.

Where I live, trees are often not irrigated and dependent on rainfall. Anecdotally, I've concluded that only a few fruit can really impact a trees establishment when it is small. Proceed with caution, I say. FN has conditions more similar to yours, though. He can advise better for your specific conditions.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:42AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Fruitnut has lot's of trees in the ground too.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:43AM
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alan haigh

I thought he said most of his fruit trees are under plastic. From what he's told us, there's not many years he can get fruit outside. Hopefully he will come back here and answer.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:29PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

All my fruit tree, save a few, are now in ground. I planted ~250 this year half outside and half in the greenhouse. They will be maintained at the size of potted.

In SoCA, OP location, and here the growing season is very long. Winters are mild. Properly done you can grow a tree and fruit all at once. Might there be issues, sure but I haven't seen any save stem blight on a few blueberry. That could be related to over cropping.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:39PM
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