Thinning The Apple Trees

Thinning The Apple Trees

Caring for the trees is an ongoing process at GreenFriends Farm. Thinning is an important activity in early summer for apple and pear trees. To a degree a tree will perform its own thinning by dropping fruit. We can also help that process. More below about why thinning is important. It is also an opportunity to inspect the tree and check for any disease, early insect infestation and broken limbs.  Then appropriate action can be taken to help the tree.

Too much sun for the tree can lead to “sunburn” and damaged fruit. There are different types of sunburn (namely – necrosis, photo-oxidative, and browning). For our purposes, it is the discoloration of the skin. A few examples below.

Why thinning is important: Too much fruit on a branch of a tree can cause the branch to break, reducing the productivity of the tree and giving an opportunity for pests to invade the broken tissues. While thinning, the smallest fruit and damaged fruit will be removed, permitting the tree to expend energy to fewer fruits, thereby creating larger and juicer fruits.

Dropped and thinned fruit left on the ground will attract rodents and pests. This fruit does not go to waste. The fruit is gathered and placed in our compost area where it can be used in other projects such as the double-dig vegetable bed. A post and video about double-dig beds is on the schedule.

Later this year we will schedule a class about thinning and pruning.