peach tree with small fruit

A Postscript For Backyard Fruits…

A couple of years ago we posted a blog about using fruit trees for landscaping accents…apples, peaches, and cherries.

A good idea for many because most of these trees a lot of desirable attributes, including size and ease of management.  In fact, you can even buy dwarf varieties of them.  And, an increasing number of people are planting them simply because they enjoy the fresh fruit produced after the fact of their pretty springtime blossoms.

That having been said, several people have responded to that flavorful suggestion…people who have already planted apples and peaches…to ask now about how to thin the crop.  Said one, “Last year I had so many fruits on my trees that the limbs broke under the weight.”

Beautiful white flowers in the spring, beautiful and delicious fruit in summer from a Montmorency cherry.

Beautiful white flowers in the spring, beautiful and delicious fruit in summer from a Montmorency cherry.

Obviously, a judicious thinning is a good rule of thumb for the average size tree (10 feet).  The short answer is to leave one fruit for every foot of limb space, give or take.  Don’t take this literally, just think of it in terms of actual weight on the tree when the fruit is of mature size.  Three or four growing within inches of each other is fine as long as the tree is not full of fruit growing that close together.  To achieve this many people simply grab a limb in early June and give it a good shake.  Some will drop, others will hang on.

In fact, most peach and apple trees will naturally thin themselves by a phenomenon known as the “June drops”.  Trees actually sense when there’s more fruit than they can withstand and if you watch closely you’ll see these wither and fall to the ground…natural thinning.  Example:  Look at the accompanying photo and see the difference between the two healthy fruits on the left and the one in the background that will eventually fall.

If you need more information go to the internet and search Google.  It’s a good question, and an important one for those who are serious about delicious, quality fruit from their landscaping time and labor.  And please…let us know.  We’re always eager to hear how others are doing it.