Thinning peaches on your tree is an important part of managing your peach tree well. This article and video will teach you how to thin peaches.
Why Should you Thin your Peaches?
There are two main reasons why you should thin your peaches every year.
The first to thin a peach tree is to reduce the weight load on your tree. Too many peaches can be really bad for a peach tree. At maturity, peaches can weigh a lot and with too many peaches on the tree, the weight load can cause a lot of damage. Thinning the tree will help you keep your tree healthy and will prevent broken branches.
Bigger and sweeter fruit
The second reason to thin peaches is to get bigger sweeter fruit. A peach tree can only sweeten and ripen so much fruit. If you have too many peaches on a tree then the energy and sugars in the tree will have to be spread too thin. This will produce smaller, inferior-tasting fruit. By thinning your peaches you will get larger fruit that will also be sweeter. You will be really happy you thinned when it comes time to harvest your peaches.
Learn how to thin your peaches by watching my YouTube Video:
How to Thin Peaches
When to Thin Peaches
You should thin your peaches when the fruits on the tree are between the size of a dime and a quarter. Thinning at this time gives the tree just enough time to start “favoring” fruit. You will notice on each branch that there are some fruits that are getting larger quicker than others. These are the fruits the tree is favoring and should be left on the tree while smaller fruit should be removed. For most of North America, early June is the time to thin your peach tree (May if you live in the South).
What to Thin First
Before you get really serious about thinning the first thing you should do on each branch is remove any double fruits. Sometimes two blossoms that are really close together will both set fruit and these will “grow together” into one double fruit. Get rid of all of these first as they will never grow into good peaches.
Next look for any peaches that when mature will rub together or touch (even if they are on different branches). Remove one of these two peaches as well. Fruit that touches or rubs on another fruit will ripen unevenly and the rubbing can damage the fruit giving room for pests to enter.
Next look for weak, small, or withered fruits. Mother nature may take care of these herself (sometimes call “June Drop”) but since you know they won’t be good peaches just get rid of them now.
Spacing of Peaches When Thinning
Your peaches should be spaced roughly 6 to 8 inches apart. A simple guide to help you is if you extend your thumb and pinky finger on your hand (see the photo below). For most of us, this is about 6 inches. Use this as a guide and thin to roughly this far apart.
Tips for removing the peaches
Peaches come off with a slight twisting motion. Also be sure when you are removing fruit that you pull up the branch towards the tip, instead of down the branch towards the trunk. Pulling down towards the trunk risks striping part of the bark of the branch away from the tree. This will allow pests to more easily enter the tree and cause damage.
The Worst Job in Gardening
Thinning a peach tree is the worst job to do in gardening. Not that it is all that difficult, but instead because it just feels so painful to remove all that potential fruit! But learning how to thin peaches is important. You really HAVE TO do it! If you leave too many fruits on the tree it can damage the tree and will leave you will bland tasting fruit. So get out there now and thin your peaches. It’s never too late to thin, even if you miss the “quarter-size” stage that we talked about before you should still thin. Your tree will thank you!!