[nafex] thinning peaches

Scott Smith scott at cs.jhu.edu
Tue Jul 3 13:26:50 EDT 2012

To add more unscientific data I have been doing the same variable spacing thing for years.  The reason why I think it works is the later peaches still size up well in spite of the closer proximity. The main problem is the limb breakage issue becomes larger as the weight of the load gets high.


On Jul 3, 2012, at 1:12 PM, Alan Haigh wrote:

> Doug, that is interesting.  I've never heard of spacing based on time
> of r*ipeness.
> What you've been told seems counter-intuitive in a way as later peaches
> have less time to recoup from stress of growing fruit, but I guess it's
> about getting the sugar up in earlier varieties.  If that's the case, the
> recommended spacing might be based, in part, on local climate.
> I still have to wonder if the recs have been endorsed by any scientific
> evaluation- always brings some comfort when dealing with other people's
> anecdotal observations, although I consider my own pretty much sacred (too
> bad there's is not a punctuation tool to denote irony- I hate having to
> write that I'm only kidding).  I've read a few commercial production
> thinning guidelines by the likes of Cornell and Rutgers and don't recall
> any mention of leaving more room for early bearers, only to thin the early
> bearers first.
> *Doug wrote-I was taught by local growers in the Niagara Peninsula:
> Early peaches, thin to 10-12 inches, except for cultivars especially prone
> to split pits.
> Midseason (Redhaven - Vanity) 8 inches
> Late (Madison) 5-6 inches
> I used to let peaches grow a little thicker on strong wood in the tops
> exposed to sun, and I would thin harder in shady parts. Row end trees can
> be loaded a little heavier. A heavy crop load slows ripening and increases
> the number of pickings required as well as decreasing size.
> Remove peaches likely to bump twigs, branches or other peaches, or stress
> their attachment to the tree, as they grow and get heavier. Save the
> peaches that won't make trouble.
> Doug Woodard
> St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
> Alan Haigh wrote:
>> Too many peaches not many leaves suggests a stressed tree.  Of course too
>> many peaches can be the source of the stress and fruit should be thinned
>> to
>> at least a 5" distance when small.  Mature peaches should never have been
>> grown densely enough to touch.  Rule of thumb as I recall is there should
>> be about 30 leaves for every fruit.
>> A stressed tree may not set fruit the following year and then grow
>> vigorously without the burden of fruit.  That is, unless the stress is
>> from
>> something else- such as soggy conditions or heavy competition from nearby
>> larger trees (peaches are particularly poor competitors in this regard).
>> Trees that tend to get broken branches are usually trees that grow
>> branches
>> of excessive diameter.  A  scaffold branch more than half the diameter of
>> the trunk at point of attachment is an invitation to disaster-
>> particularly
>> with peaches.  During first couple years of training such oversized
>> branches should be removed unless you want to rely on ringing a tree with
>> rope or using crutches.
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