Should I thin out my apples

filixJune 11, 2014

A couple of my 5 year old apple trees are covered with fruit. This is the first time. Do I thin them out like I do my peaches? About 8" between each? Thanks. filix.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

If you don't you might not get fruit next year, the tree might break limbs, and all that little fruit will probably taste bland. So yes thin to at least 8 inches maybe 12. I leave about one apple for every three clusters.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

an orchard manager near me tell his employees to use the pinky and thumb spread wide as a gauge. That is on their regular production trees. I agree that on your 5yo tree to go to 12"

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My trees haven't yet been thinned this year and it is too late to improve my set for next year, but not too late to improve the quality of this year's fruit and to reduce bending and breaking of branches.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you very much. filix

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bart1(6/7 Northern VA)


I've been using the finger-thumb distance too.

Why would you go to 12" in this case? That seems about double the distance I've been using.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At the very minimum, thin all the clusters down to 1 apple

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The cluster is a "King" fruit surrounded by its crown (five? fruit). Generally you pluck everyone but the King who has a two day head start on the others. If the King is mis-shapen, or otherwise not appealing then pluck him and leave one of the bigger/best looking crown fruits. Some areas leave a sacrificial crown fruit to shade the King at least for a while. There may be other tricks for other reasons in other areas. Generally I start early and simply pinch the buds off once pedal fall occurs so the bees get their nectar.

Keep in mind there are 3 bearing apple types: tip bearing, spur bearing and "normal" (sorry can't remember what the most common type is called) bearing. Tip bearing and spur bearing should be handled with greater care and consideration due to lesser fruit production.
As an interesting aside I planted six columnar apples (see pic from 2 years ago) (Northpole, Scarlett Sentinel and some yellow one; 2 each) on the east side of my tool shed in Phoenix, AZ 3 years ago. This is the first year they synced bloom which is going on right now. Most apples bloom in Feb-March around here. I don't know if I will ever get apples, but if I do I think they will be Halloween to Christmas apples which would be great timing for here which is pretty much limited to figs, pomegranates, persimmons and pecans by then.

This post was edited by Fascist_Nation on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 11:07

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:53AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Root control bag to control Mulberry tree size
Hi, I am planning to use a root control bag to limit...
Any idea what's causing this on my blueberry?
A couple of the newer branches are turning black at...
ferroplasm Zone 7b
Help understanding huckleberries
I recently enjoyed some huckleberry pie and was pleasantly...
Blueberry help!
What's going on with this blueberry bush? Is it going...
Haskap or Honeyberry?
I am in zone 6 in southern Illinois, so I get extreme...
Sponsored Products
Remer by Nameeks 359BE Shower Head - REMER 359BE
$108.23 | Hayneedle
Stainless Steel Tile Installation Kit - Highly Recommended
$63.40 | TileBar
Empire 11-Light Gold Finish with Clear-Crystals Chandelier
$900.00 | Bellacor
Exclusive Patterned Faux Silk 96-inch Curtain Panel
Patio Living Concepts Outdoor Lighting. Bahama Weave Mocha Cream Thin Weave 34 i
Home Depot
Pieced Pillow with Fringe 12" x 24" - PLATINUM (12X24)
$260.00 | Horchow
Fatboy Edison the Grand Lamp by Fatboy
$699.00 | Lumens
New Hand Knotted Wool Balouch Runner Medallion Design Geometric Border Rug P250
BH Sun Inc
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™