Apple fruit thinning

Question ...

I've a number of apple trees, aged four or five years old, and I've noticed lots of little buds developing on the branches. Last year I had problems with too many apples on some branches causing the branch to break. Is there an optimum number of apples per branch?

Also, if I need to remove excess apple buds what's the best way to do it without damaging the tree?

Answer ...

The recommendation is to thin to one fruit per cluster, leaving fruit about 4 - 6 inches apart. Remove fruit either with scissors or finger and thumb. Just before the June drop, remove any fruits that are misshapen or diseased. The balance can be completed afterwards, once the June drop is over. Finish thinning by mid-July. Excess buds can be gently rubbed off with your fingers.

Garden Organic members can see our expert factsheets for further advice on organic gardening. Access to factsheets requires a members' password.
Categories: