Can thinning apple trees increase production and fruit quality?

Can thinning apple trees increase production and fruit quality?

An orchard is an excellent display of our signature on nature. However, you need to do everything right when it comes to fruit farming, from planting to irrigation to plant care. This is done to maximize productivity and enhance the performance of your trees. Growing and caring for fruit trees can be labor extensive before you can begin enjoying the delicious fruits. If you are an apple farmer who has not been getting the yields you want or a new farmer who wants to get their desired yields, you should dive deeper into this article and explore a few tips that we have for you. They will help you boost your tree’s performance, increase fruit production, and lengthen your harvesting season.

Do apple trees need any thinning?

Apple tree branches grow vigorously, with some branches growing towards the center of the tree. The side branches that outgrow the primary branches should be pruned regularly to achieve a pyramidal shape. Apart from pruning, apple trees also require regular thinning. This is selectively removing certain young fruits to help the trees produce high-quality fruits, more yields, and keep them in good shape. At times, pears and apples naturally thin their fruits. However, additional thinning is essential to ensure that there are less chances of fruit rubbing together and occurrence of diseases such as fruit rot. Besides, it helps prevent biennial bearing. This happens when the trees crop heavily one year and bear little fruits the following year. If not thinned, some branches can become extremely heavy and may snap under the weight in some cases.

Thinning helps give the remaining fruits adequate space to become bigger and healthier. This is because they enjoy more energy, sunlight, and airflow, enhancing fruit quality. These fruits are more marketable and fetch good returns in the local and export markets than tiny, low-quality fruits.

How to thin an apple tree

So, the main question now is, how do you thin an apple tree? First, you need to have the right tools. You can use a sharp pair of pruners. However, a pair of scissors can also work, especially when the fruits are too close to each other.

Generally, apple clusters range from two to six fruits. To optimize the fruit quality, you need to thin them and have between one to three fruits per cluster. Start by removing any scarred or damaged fruits. You can also remove the odd-shaped fruit at the center of the cluster. Next, remove those that are awkwardly positioned and the smallest fruits. Continue thinning, leaving only the healthiest fruits.

Knowing when to harvest apples

After a long season of hard work, the moment of truth has arrived, and you need to harvest your fruits. But how do you know when they are ready? Well, nature offers several clues. The fruit color deepens and falls easily from the trees. The presence of windfalls is an excellent sign that they are ready for harvest. However, you should assess the orchard well and probably taste a few fruits. This can help if you are unsure whether they are ready to pick.

Do you need more help?

At OxfarmAg, we ensure that you take the right steps to enhance your apple production and enable you to produce high-quality fruits. We offer agronomy support to help you thin your apple fruits properly and harvest your produce at the right time. Let’s walk with you in every step, from seedlings to planting to plant management to harvesting. We have the right package for you. Contact us today and have a productive and profitable apple orchard!

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