Every bloom on a fruit tree represents a potential fruit. While a fruit tree in full bloom is gorgeous and fragrant, allowing each and every bloom to remain on the tree and produce fruit is counter-productive. The energy supply of the tree will be exhausted trying to mature all the fruit, making the tree weak and prone to pest infestation and disease, and the fruits that reach maturity will be small. Removing some of the excess blooms will encourage tree health and larger fruit.
Remove Blooms Evenly
Remove some of the blooms by hand picking them off all over the tree. Start by removing just a few of the blooms, then take a step back to view the fruit tree. The blooms on each side of the tree should be fairly even for aesthetic purposes as well as promoting even maturing fruit size.
Continue to remove a few blooms around the tree and stepping back to view it until a pleasing balance has been achieved. Don’t leave too many blooms on any one branch, the developing fruit will be heavy and can cause the tree limb to break.
Removing some of the excess blooms from the fruit tree makes the tree healthier and will allow the tree to focus it’s energy on fruit production and maturation. The fruit tree will also have enough energy to produce new growth and ward off disease.
Too Much Fruit
As the remaining blooms fade and tiny fruits appear, more thinning may be needed to keep the fruit tree healthy and fruit production strong. If any of the tree’s branches begin to bend under the weight of the fruit it is supporting, there is still too much fruit on that branch and it needs to be thinned.
If only one or two branches are heavily weighed down with fruits, remove some of the fruits by hand picking them off. Be selective when thinning the fruit and create room for remaining fruit to grow.
If the entire fruit tree seems weighted down and several branches are bending under the weight of the developing fruit, give the tree a good shaking. Shaking the tree will remove fruit from all over the tree and lighten the tree’s load. After shaking, step back and view the tree branches. If certain branches still have too much fruit, hand pick some more of the fruits off. If hand-picking or shaking won’t get the job done, use a thinning method called ‘pole thinning’. Place something soft, like a piece of rubber hose or old towel, over the end of a long pole then hit some fruit clusters on the tree with the covered end of the pole to dislodge and remove them. Clean up any fruits on the ground under the tree to prevent pest infestation.
The fewer fruits on a tree, the less competition for the fruit tree’s energy and nutrients, so the tree will produce bigger fruit. The fruit tree will not have exhausted it’s energy supply into maturing an abundance of fruit and the tree will be healthier for it.
Colorado State University Extension