Thining my peaches?
In spite of all my difficulties, I have been blessed with 2 Red Haven peach trees that are absolutely loaded with golf-ball sized, healthy looking peaches. Prematurely pulling a healthy, viable piece of fruit off my tree and disposing of it is the hardest thing I have ever done! It may be easier for those with plenty of fruit, but with only 2 trees bearing more than a few peaches this year, it just kills me to do this! But from what I read, its a necessary evil. True? Will it really make a big difference?
Anyway, the most I have been able to bring myself to do so far is to reduce any multi-peach clusters of 4 or more down to 3. I'm pretty sure that isn't nearly enough, but I don't know what is. Are there any rules of thumb about thinning peaches? IE, how many should be left per limb? Or a limb of certain length and diameter can support X number of peaches? If you say I should never have clusters of 4, or (worse) clusters of 3, then how about doubles? I mean, when you have 2 peaches touching each other and coming from within a 1/2 inch area of a limb, does one have to go? Surely not, but I have to ask. Same for 3. I'm pretty sure 4 is too many for one cluster, right?
In short, I'm just looking for a little advice on how hard to thin peaches. Since I'm already very short on fruit, I'd like err on the side of thinning too little, but would like to hear thoughts on both how much to thin and how important thinning is. Thanks, Folks!