M Johnson wrote:I have an orchard with lots of varieties and types, with various ages of trees that I have planted over the past 5-6 years.
This year the bees made it over the winter, no late freeze came, and the trees are hitting a good age to produce.
And man are they packed! Now I have to think about thinning for bigger fruit I think?
Any suggestions? Does it depend on the type of fruit?
All fruit types, thin excess tree loads as early as you possibly can. Thin first for limb health because loosing limbs is costly. Some people add braces under overburdened limbs, but I don’t like that unless I am working with a very old tree that just needs a little help with a normal load.
Once you get everything thinned for limb health, then look at thinning for size. Trees that are packed, often cannot grow their fruit very large. This is where you need to get to know your trees better. Don’t be afraid to thin as they grow if you were too conservative on your original thinning. Loosing some fruit to save a good limb is well worth it, but getting the excess fruits off sooner is always better for everything, size, flavor, and tree health.
Shortly after blossoms drop, when you just start to see the fruit load is the best time to do an initial thinning, then check back in a couple weeks to make sure you didn’t miss too many on your first pass.
If you have a tree that continues to flower (like a pomegranate), then once you have a decent load you like on the tree, deadhead it until harvest. That will give you nice large pomegranates that are 2 to 3 times larger than any tree you didn’t manage. (It’s a huge difference, pun intended).