How to Grow: Thinning Fruit Trees

Learn how to thin the fruits in your apple, plum, peach, and pear trees so you get a better harvest and care better for the tree.


There’s nothing like growing your own fresh fruit. Apples, pears, plums,and peaches right on your own trees are easier to grow than you think. With quick maturing varieties and dwarf varieties it makes it simple. You don’t need an orchard or a big yard. All you need is a small space with a lot of sun and these varieties will produce in a couple years. There are some chores you have to do to keep them producing and one of the summer chores is to thin the young fruits. Here’s why.

Peaches, plums and apples, in particular, can set lots of fruit during a good year. While they’ll drop some naturally you’ll still need to go in and thin them. It reduces the chance of diseases infecting the fruits and reduces the weight on the branch so they don’t break when the fruits are ripe and heavy, especially during summer storms. Plus, thinning reduces the likelihood of biennial bearing. That’s when your peach tree or your plum tree or your apple will bear a lot of fruit one year and then the next year little or no fruit and then a lot of fruit again.

Thin fruits when they’re about the size of a quarter and thin peaches – about six inches apart on the branch removing the smallest of the fruits. Simply snap them off with your fingers. Thin plums to four inches apart, apples and pears to eight inches apart. To reduce insect and disease problems for next year don’t just leave the fruits on the ground around the tree. Collect and dispose of the fruits so you remove the pests too.

So by taking a little time to thin your fruits in the summer you’ll have healthier trees healthier fruits and tastier ones.

Go here for more on growing fruits.

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