Apple Thinning:

loneranger_growJune 1, 2013

I have read different answers to this, but,,How much do you thin an over supply of little apples> Do you leave one per cluster? Thanks:

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blackrag(6A East PA)

Hi Lone Ranger.
It is my understanding that you leave 1 fruitlet every 8-10". I am in the middle of the process myself. It is painful to dump potential fruit. On my peaches and nectarines, I cut off 100's. Apples less, but still hard to do, especially after 4 years of waiting... Good Luck! Chad

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 5:55PM
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It is painful,especially when I consider some will belost thru the summer from storms,varmits,insects,scabs. Maybe good to leave afew extra.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 6:22PM
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I've been thinning for the past three days. It's tough, waiting 5-6 years for an excellent pollination to occur, only to remove 90% of the fruit. BUT. . . someone on this forum said, 'go for quality fruit and taste' v/s small, mediocre apples. The statement made sense. Not only do I want good apples, I also do not want to 'stress' my young six year old trees, by allowing them to set too much fruit. I start bagging tomorrow. I have waited six years for my 'Enterprise' apple to finally have many blossoms and clusters, only to thin to about 30 apples. I also removed all of the weak unpollinated clusters. The good news is I think the apples will be a good size and delish! And by the way, family and friends just cannot grasp the thinning of any fruit. I try to explain the process, however, it is difficult to justify, less is more when you are waiting years for fruit. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:02PM
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The longer you've been growing, the easier it is to thin.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:52PM
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good advice on this thread...8"-10" is probably close to correct. Best "practical" advice I ever got is: "picture the apples fully grown".

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:05PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I agree with ltilton...I don't have any problem with ripping off buckets full of apricots...apples, etc... you either have a ton of small fruit or few large fruit...each fruit has more leaves and possible more sun hitting it.. my problem with thinning, is it just takes so much time to do ..i spent probably an hour thinning one apricot tree..i like the trees that drop a lot of fruit :) I will say that my plums are very good at shedding a lot of fruit, where i have yet to need to thin (PC also helps that most years).

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Plums do need thinning if the fruits grow to touch each other.

If any fruits survive the PC.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:54PM
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A large orchard manager told me he has his employees space like "this" them held his hand up with his pinky and thumb as far apart as possible. that is on mature trees.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:56PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Mrs G, Are you seeing insect damage? I've bagged more than 200 apples this year on 2 and 3 year old trees. Most of it was last weekend, and I was already seeing a lot of bug damage. I've been adding bags (and thinning off damage) over the last week. I'm seeing more bites (sometimes 2-3 on one fruit) accumulating on the few un-bagged apples remaining, so it's good that I'm almost done. Given that you're in zone 7 (and I'm right on the border between 6b and 7) I figured that you may lose a good chunk to the bugs.

When I say "bugs" I know some of the hits are from PC (crescent shaped bites), but I'm not sure what is leaving the round bite-marks.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:41AM
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alan haigh

PC both feeds on fruit and makes crescent shaped scars when laying eggs- not that other insects don't also feed on the small fruit.

Based on recent Cornell Scaffolds article, first PC feeds and later begins laying eggs.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:17AM
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I am one of those who thinned aggressive and am happy with the result. One year when I did not thin enough, I got many small pears and the next year, that tree produced only few flowers.

This spring, I could not spray at petall (wind and rain). I was 3 weeks late spraying. I normally spray once at petal fall and bag apples after that and don't have to spray apple again.

I saw some damages from bugs (more than other years). The majority was from coddling moth (a hole tunneling in, seed was gone, etc.). Some PC from the bite marks and a few from OFM. I have damages from worms, too (from the way fruit were chewed/eaten). Damages were on apples, pears and peaches. I picked them off.

It hurt when king fruit were damaged. I sprayed a few days ago and bagged apples. I only bag apples. Usually A. pears can recover from damages rather well and damages are mostly skin-deep. I can't imagine bagging A. pears. Mine set so many more fruit than apples.

I will spray peaches and A. pears one more time. After that, I put footsies on peaches. Pears are left alone.

A groundhogs and squirrels are my bigger problems.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:55AM
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Sometimes I take off the king fruit when the stem is too short to bag.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:55AM
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Nope. no bug damage yet. bagging today. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:00PM
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