[NAFEX] How not to thin apples

Steve sdw12986 at aol.com
Sun Jul 5 17:28:03 EDT 2009

This afternoon, I was looking up in a pear tree wishing I had a way to 
thin the fruit way up high. I went in ad got my WOLF Garten fruit picker 
to see what I could do. It looks like this:
There is a sharp blade between the center fingers and I thought maybe I 
could pop off some small fruits. It didn't work well. More often than 
not, it pulled off the entire spur with all the little pears.

One more try....  Years ago I grafted Arlet to the top of an apple tree. 
It turned out not to be Arlet. Two springs ago, I got some Arlet scion 
wood from a different source and tried to correct the mistake. I sawed 
off the "not Arlet" just above a side branch and did a bark graft with 
the (hopefully) real Arlet. I left the side branch thinking it would 
help heal the cut surface.
Two years later, the graft had 2 stems growing. I left them both for 
now, again to get more growth to heal over the cut surface. The small 
part was trying to grow several apples. I did want to try them to 
confirm I had the real Arlet this time but I only needed 2 or 3.
So there I am with my fruit picker trying to pluck off most of the 
apples and leave a few. *Ripp* I pulled the whole graft away from the 
wood leaving it hanging by mostly bark. Crap! I ran for a ladder, some 
masking tape, and the pruners. I cut off all the apples, in fact the 
entire branch that had them. The other lead was the one I wanted to keep 
in the long run anyway and I cut that one back quite a bit too. I 
wrapped masking tape around the injured area to hold it back in place. I 
got a length of bamboo stake and used that as a brace, holding that with 
more wraps of masking tape. Now we'll see if it grows or wilts.

Two things keep this from being entirely disgusting:
1. If I had left well enough alone and did nothing today, the weight of 
the apples and some wind would have broken it the same way later this 
summer (I bet) and I wouldn't have been right there to try to fix it.
2. I grafted a side branch on a different tree with the same scion wood. 
That was a splice graft and it grew far better than the bark graft. It 
has a few apples too so I will still get to sample the apples from the 
new scion this year.

Steve in the Adriondacks

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