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Should I thin apples?

Discussion in 'Trees' started by Scudo, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Scudo

    Scudo Gardener

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    I am not complaining about the amount of apples forming on this 3 year old tree, but should I thin out the apples at this stage or later or leave to let nature take its course. Also for such a young tree I can see the weight of mature apples being a problem.
    Whats best to do?

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    • silu

      silu gardening easy...hmmm

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      I am no expert @Scudo but all I do know is my ancient Apple trees shed loads naturally come about August I think, presumably to not over do themselves? Like you due to no late frosts to upset the Apple blossom my trees are groaning with baby Apples. About 1/2 will be shed naturally I'll expect. Hopefully someone who knows a shed load more than me will be able to advise you more expertly. Certainly your young tree looks to be doing very well.
       
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      • Sian in Belgium

        Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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        There is something called the "June drop", where a fruit tree normally drops its surplus young fruit. @silu, I can imagine that "oop noerth" (sp?!) this may be quite a bit later.
        Looking st the last of your photos, I think your tree is about to do its "drop". Top centre of the photo, the smaller of the two apples looks much smaller and drier. Bottom centre, you have two large apples, one small, and one smallish. I would reckon your tree will drop the smallest of the 4, and I would be tempted to remove the second smallest too. To the right, you have a clump of 5 fruit, which I think your tree will naturally thin to 2.

        On a young tree, up to 5 years or so, I think you are recommended to thin to no more than 2 or three fruit per spur, or clump. But I would wait until July before attempting any manual thinning.

        HTH! :)
         
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        • redstar

          redstar Total Gardener

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          my orchard person, who lives near says, you have to take all apples off, use them or compost them whatever, this triggers next year production.
           
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          • Scrungee

            Scrungee Well known for it

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            Does he advocate the same treatment for the following years?
             
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            • redstar

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              this is what she says exactly ------------- Hundreds and hundreds of apples. All in a 5 gallon bucket. Fruit trees produce so many fruit that they will break limbs and drain the resources of the tree. If too many are left on the tree may produce fruit every other year. So we thin the trees by hand, picking hundreds when they are between the size of a dime to a quarter. Of course they get "recycled" into the compost pile.
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                Yep wait till after the June drop as Sian says, I think the June drop actually happens in early July most years.
                After that you thin if you think you need to, the more you thin,
                the bigger the remaining apples will be.

                Often heard it said that when thinning apples that are too close, in a cluster, you actually remove the biggest one, when they are around 1 to 1 and a half inches in Diameter.
                 
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                • Verdun

                  Verdun Passionate gardener

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                  For me, thin out now. Remove the weakest of a group of 3 to leave 2 well spaced......ideally even less. The June drop doesnt necessarily mean it happens in June. Later, go over your trees and remove blemished or damaged fruit. For a 3 year old tree I would allow only a minimum crop. Less fruit now means more and regular fruiting later :)

                  In late July/early August summer prune. This opens ripening fruit to sun and air and concentrates the tree to produce fruit buds on spurs for next year :) Another opportunity to further inspect your fruit and discard damaged them
                   
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                  • Scudo

                    Scudo Gardener

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                    Thanks for the info, out of interest last year I had a crop of approx 20 apples (used for apple sauce) with no drop off, this year there must be approx 100 on that tree. Strangely though the other tree I have and planted at the same time only has 6 apples forming.
                     
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                    • Gail_68

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                      Your apple tree looks nice and healthy for 3yrs of age :thumbsup:
                       
                    • Scudo

                      Scudo Gardener

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                      Bought it out of Lidl. :-)
                       
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                      • Gail_68

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                        I've seen them when I've been in there with hubby but he's the main shopper and if he's out on his own and see something good on offer regarding plants etc he bells me straight away...if you get the offers at the right time they turn out good...the leaves on it are lovely and clean :)
                         
                      • redstar

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                        BTW you should see this women's property, the one with the apple trees. not only apple trees but pear trees. And a hill side of only lavender shrubs, huge hill, can see it from the street. and also horses, chickens, and a huge veggie garden, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers etc. yes she sell stuff in a little side cottage on the honor system.
                         
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                        • Gail_68

                          Gail_68 Guest

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                          restar she seems like she knows what she's doing growing orchards, veggies besides the animals [​IMG]
                           
                        • Loofah

                          Loofah Well used member

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                          As it's so young then definitely thin them out or the thin branches will snap. Won't make all that much difference if you do it before or after the June drop but obviously less work if nature has done some for you!
                           
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