Nectarine thinning

fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)April 1, 2013

Hi, I have a nectarine tree that I believe is a snow queen nectarine. I have had it for a few years and it hasn't grown much so advice is appreciated. It is about 4 ft tall and has set fruit for the first time this year and I would like to know how many I should leave if any. I would like to try and leave at least one if you think the tree can handle it. Also, I planted an apricot seed from commercial fruit a year ago and it has grown fairly well. Do you think there is any chance it could ever produce fruit? Thank you.

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


You can thin the fruit every 6-7 inches. Your nectarine will handle it just fine. In regarding the apricot seedling, you just have to wait and see. I know peaches usually turn out pretty good from seeds.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:59PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've got a Snow Queen, 2nd leaf, about 1.5 inch caliper trunk, 4ft tall, with three scaffold branches. I plan to leave about 12 fruit total. That leaves the fruit at about 12 inch spacing. If you are still in doubt a picture of your tree would allow a better estimate for your tree not mine.

I've grown many seedling apricots. Most bore fruit starting about the third year. The fruit generally was good, not great, but very welcome when it came.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:32PM
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alan haigh

fruitluvr, it concerns me that your tree remains so small- is it growing in the ground or a pot? Fruiting will only put more stress on the tree if it's in the ground where it should have put out a lot more growth by now.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:24PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

Harvestman- The tree is in the ground but it is on a steep hillside which I didnt think about when I planted the tree and soil is not great. Do you have any suggestions for improving the conditions? I doubt I'd be able to dig it up and move it with out killing it although I could try.

And thank you for the advice regarding thinning. I guess I'll just have to see with the apricot!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:34PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

By the way, I have other fruit trees as well and other than the avacado none of them have put on significant growth so the problem is probably with the soil although most of the trees are not on the hillside. All of the trees regularly produce new leaves, the trees just aren't getting bigger. Thanks again, any help is much appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:49PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


It sounds like you may not be watering enough. What is your current watering method and schedule?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:22PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

The nectarine used to have a drip watering system but we turned that off so now I have been watering via watering can every other day or so

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:27PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

I honestly never considered that the plants could be underwatered, I'll try watering them more and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:30PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I agree - too much of a good drainage thing :-) Planting on a slope is great for drainage, and your avocado will love it, but you still need to make sure your trees get a good soaking at least once a week (and for your avocado, twice a week now, and more frequently in the heat of our summers.) Build up some wells under your trees. Be sure the wells extend to and beyond the current drip line. I would use some curved stacking stones to help prevent erosion if necessary. HEAVILY mulch your avocado (they have very, very delicate surface roots, never remove any of their dropped leaves, they are integral to the health and success of the avocado). Deep water at least twice, then fertilize your trees. Be sure your avocado has a high nitrogen fertilizer (you can find citrus & avocado fertilizers at any big box store, or good garden center). I would use a lower nitrogen fertilizer for your stone fruits (I use Gro Power's Fruit & Bloom, which has a 3-12-12 ratio, plus a large amount of humus and humic acid, which is really great for our thin soils. Gro Power also makes a very nice Citrus & Avocado product as well.) Mulch under your trees to conserve moisture, just keep the mulch away from the trunks to prevent moisture damage. Once your fruit is a few weeks away from ripeness, you can then start to dial down the water. For us in S. California, that is actually naturally done with our warmer, drier temps as wel head into summer. I just keep my drip rate going at spring rates for my stone fruits, so I sort of naturally restrict water, which does help sweeten up the fruits. Thanks to fruitnut for doing some extensive experimenting with water restriction and brix. I had some exceptionally good stone fruit last year out of my very young orchard (plus saved a few bucks on my water bill, which is not a small thing here in S. Calif.)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 11:01PM
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fruitluvr13(SoCal 10)

Wow, thank you very much for the information. I will definitely take everybody's advice. Maybe now some of my trees will start actually growing! And hoosierquilt thanks for the fertilizer suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 11:12PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

My nectarine is more mature, maybe 7 years old. Some branches look like they are forming a fair amount of fruit, others not much at all, surely because my learning curve on pruning.

Anyway, with a mature tree, how much to thin the fruits?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:01PM
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