Flower and fruitlet thinning


Apple trees frequently set and retain excessive numbers of fruits in relation to tree size and leaf area. The result of this is the production of fruits at harvest which are smaller than required by the markets and which often show poor storage potential.

Overcropping Gala tree
  • Reduce the fruit numbers on the trees so that only those that can be sized adequately are retained through to harvest.
  • Remember that on a small tree it is better to have 80 apples which average 68 mm in diameter than 120 apples averaging 60 mm.
  • Recent research shows that fruits from thinned trees have higher concentrations of polyphenols which are important to human health and nutrition.
  • Larger fruits are:
    • Easier and cheaper to pick
    • Cheaper to grade
The results of optimum thinning

This essential crop load adjustment can be achieved using several strategies, which are discussed in the sections below.