Unsure of how to increase the production of your fruit tree? If you are in the Gainesville, Florida area, you are in luck because we can help! If you are not local, or simply would like to do your own thinning, here is some helpful information for you:

Some types of fruit trees produce more fruit than the tree can actually support. Not only does the tree struggle to support the weight of the fruit, but the fruit could struggle to develop properly as well. This could cause the fruit to be unfulfilling in both taste and size. Why does this happen? The fruit will begin to compete against each other for the limited carbohydrates the tree is able to produce. This could cause all the fruit to not get as large, and also not taste as sweet. This competition for the carbohydrates, or stored energy, causes what is called “sink”. Sink is referred to the drainage of the carbohydrates from the tree. If there is too much sink the tree can be more susceptible to pests, diseases, and sunburn damage. Leaving too much fruit could also cause alternate bearing. This is when one year it overproduces fruit, but then the next it doesn’t produce much fruit at all.

What are the Benefits of Thinning Fruit?

  • Allows remaining fruit to develop to a mature size
  • More sunlight reaches fruit causing brighter colors and improved flavor
  • Reduces alternate bearing
  • Minimizes change of pest issues, diseases, fungus, and sunburn damage
  • Reduces limb breakage due to the excessive weight

In some types of trees natural thinning is sufficient, but in others I recommend thinning them out yourself.

More popular types of fruit trees that require thinning:

  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Pears

When should you thin? The fruit should be thinned when they are still fairly small. Typically this is around early April to mid May. This depends on the type of fruit tree. For stone fruit (Peaches, Plums, etc) remove fruit when they are about ¾ – 1 inch in size. Pome fruits (Apples, Pears, etc) should be removed when they are between ½ – 1inch in size.

How much should you thin your fruit tree?

This depends on the type of tree and the overall quantity on the tree. You want to keep the largest of the fruit.

  • Apricots and Plums – 2-4 inches apart from each other
  • Peaches and Nectarines – 3-5 inches apart
  • Apples and Pears – 1-2 per cluster

I tend to remove my fruit by hand, but you can also use a pole if the size makes this impractical. Please give Gainesville Lawnscaping a call at 352-505-3411 if you have and questions or concerns. We will be happy to help assist you with your thinning.