Hand-thin or June Drop?

daemon2525(5)May 20, 2013

I posted in another thread about seeing so few bees this year in my little orchard.

Anyway, I now have 12 dwarf BUD9 trees that are about 1 to 1 1/4 inch caliper, each with about 200 fuitlets each.

Snipping them would be a big task. Am I wasting my time?
Will June drop do most of the work for me?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Without having to search for your previous message, what kind of fruit tree are you referring to?

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Sorry, they are apples. I have several varieties. 4 HoneyCrisp, 3 Cortland, CrimsonCrisp, etc.
This will be the third summer in the ground for some of them and 2nd year for others. I believe that they were two years old when I got them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:02AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Be careful on the Honeycrisp..notorious for being biennial...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:10AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


With the right shears you should be able to do first thin in 5 minutes per tree. Take the hand shears with a hooked lower cutter. Grab the cluster with your off hand. Jab the shears in there and often you can take off the whole cluster with one snip even leaving one apple, two snips at most. Completely take all apples off 2 of every 3 clusters. Leave one apple on every third cluster. This removes enough fruit to assure return bloom. Later come back and take off more if needed.

June drop will take off most fruit at the possible expense of next years fruit buds. All you save is an hour.

PS: Don't cut off a finger using my rough and ready approach. I've come close a time or two.....;-)

This post was edited by fruitnut on Mon, May 20, 13 at 12:22

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Its good to wait until after june drop because you can screen out any fruit that is damaged by insects. Or you may do it now and then find out later that a lot of fruit drops and now you have gaps in the branches with no fruit.
As to the bees, I thought I had no bees either until I found them on the dandilions and barberry bushes. So I weedwacked the dandilions and covered the barberries and then they were on the apples. So they may be around, just not going to the apple blossoms as thier first choice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:05PM
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OK, I'll see. I am really having trouble imagining 5 minutes per tree. I assumed that I was suppose to leave the leaves on the tree and only get the little fruits. They ARE kinda mixed up together! lol!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:29PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Some are harder than others. It depends on the length of the stems and the leaves in the way can be an issue. But it's not as bad as it looks. At least do a couple Honeycrisp early as per Frank's concern and see if it makes a difference on return bloom.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:44PM
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5 min per tree!!! You're super fast!!! I just came in from thinning on dwarf William's Pride. It set so much fruit. I took me about half an hour. OK, I'm super slow!! I left one or two largest apples per cluster. Depending on the size of a branch, some clusters I took the whole things off.

My apples are about the size of a small pea but I can see which ones are bigger than the others. I will need another round of thinning before I bag (apples). Even if I lose some fruit between now and then, I still have a lot left.

I have not experienced June drop (knoch on wood). I think by thinning early, a tree does not need to spend so much energy trying to feed all the fruitlets. That may be why it does not drop the fruit for self preservation. At least, its the theory that makes sense to me. I don't have June drop on any of my apple, peach or pear. I thin them early at about a pea size.

I just completd thinning all my 3 peach trees. Don't ask me how long it took!!

After this, as soon as no rain in the forecast, I will spray Immunox mix with Triazicide. I should have sprayed sooner but it's either rained or been windy. So far, I have not seen insect damage. I keep my finger crossed.

I've heard that spraying with Sevin (instead of Triazicide) would cause some fruit to drop. That'd be an easier way to thin your fruit.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:23PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I don't get June drop either, not if I thin enough. On a few things I try but just don't get them thin enough and have a little drop. That just tells me I probably need to thin more after the drop.

I really can't remember ever feeling that I thinned too early or rarely too much. But often feel that I should have thinned more so as to increase eating quality.

On my earliest nectarine this year I left too much fruit and ended up with 12 brix compared to 18 last year. The fruit was hardly eatable or saleable so the extra 50% in weight was of no value.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Sevin works for thinning, but it can work too well and leave you with no fruit. There's no fast formula, because it depends on the maturity of the fruitlets.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:31PM
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