|Customers are picking many quarts of flavorful 'Earliglow' strawberries.|
So we need to thin tree fruits, removing the excess fruit so the remaining ones will grow bigger and sweeter. Apples and pears can be thinned about 3 weeks after full bloom, by spraying a growth-regulating spray that causes some of the young fruit to drop. We sprayed our apples and pear trees last Mon. April 23, and have seen some resulting fruit drop, but not quite enough. So we will have to remove even more fruit by hand later.
For the past 10 days we've concentrated on thinning the peach trees, in between customers coming to harvest strawberries. No growth-regulating sprays work well to thin peaches without causing damage to the foliage, so we have to thin peaches mechanically. With the huge fruit set this year, we have to remove 90% of the young fruit.
So we invested in pneumatic limb shakers this year. We placed these on each branch and give it a vigorous shake for a second or two, knocking some young fruit to the ground. I just finished going over the entire one-acre peach orchard of about 100 trees yesterday, after spending 40 hours using the limb shaker.
|I spent 40 hours shaking excess tiny peaches from our 100 trees using a pneumatic limb shaker, powered by an air compressor that runs via the power take off of our tractor.|
|This peach branch, after using the limb shaker but before hand thinning, still has far more fruit than the branch can support.|
|The same branch after hand thinning now has only the biggest, best fruit, that will ripen into large, sweet, flavorful peaches.|