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  • Writer's pictureStefanie

Prepping The Trees Early: Why May & June Are The Perfect Months To Start Thinning.

Springtime at Draper Girls Country Farm is a season of careful planning and diligent work, particularly when it comes to thinning our fruit trees. Thinning, or "spacing," is an essential practice that prepares our trees for fall harvest. Starting in May with peaches and nectarines and continuing through June with Bartlett pears and apples, thinning helps ensure our fruits grow larger and healthier. Here's a guide on the best time to start thinning and why it's crucial for fruit development.

What is Thinning?

Thinning fruit trees involves removing some of the young fruits to allow the remaining ones to grow larger and healthier. It's all about balancing the amount of fruit with the leaf surface area that provides the necessary energy for growth and ripening.

Why May is the Ideal time to start thinning

May is the optimal month for thinning because by this time, the trees have set their fruit, making it easier to see and manage clusters. Thinning in May gives the remaining fruit time to develop throughout the summer, leading to a successful fall harvest.

Peaches and Nectarines: May

May marks the beginning of our thinning season with peaches and nectarines. Here's how we do it:

1. Identify clusters of three or more fruits.

2. Thin the clusters down to one fruit each, ensuring proper spacing.

3. This allows the remaining fruit to grow larger and receive adequate sunlight and nutrients.

How to Thin Bartlett Pears and Apples

Thinning Apples

For apple trees, thinning involves:

1. Identifying clusters of three or more apples.

2. Spacing off two apples from each cluster, leaving the largest and healthiest-looking apple.

3. Ensuring the remaining apple has enough space to grow and receive adequate sunlight.

Thinning Bartlett Pears

For Bartlett pears, the process is slightly different:

1. Finding clusters of young pears.

2. Thinning the clusters to leave two pears per cluster.

3. Making sure the remaining pears have enough room to develop fully.

Pictured here are the Strawberry Parfait Apples. (These are the apples that are pink inside)

The Importance of Thinning

Balancing Fruit and Energy

Thinning balances the amount of fruit left on the trees with the leaf surface area. Leaves are crucial as they provide the energy needed for fruit growth and ripening. When too much fruit is left on the tree, it creates a burden, diverting energy from other essential processes during fruit development.

Benefits of Thinning

1. Improved Fruit Size and Quality with fewer fruits competing for nutrients, the remaining ones can grow larger and develop better flavors.

2. Reduced Tree Stress: Thinning prevents the tree from being overburdened, allowing it to allocate resources efficiently.

3. Enhanced Tree Health: Proper spacing improves air circulation and sunlight penetration, reducing the risk of diseases and pests.

4. Preventing Branch Damage: By avoiding overloading, thinning helps prevent branches from breaking under the weight of excessive fruit.

Pictured here is Theresa getting ready to space the apples


At Draper Girls Country Farm, we are dedicated to producing the best quality fruit. Thinning is a crucial step in our orchard management process. By ensuring the right balance of fruit and leaf surface, we set the stage for a fruitful and delicious fall harvest. We invite you to visit us this fall to shop our already pick fruit in the Country Store or sign up for U-Pick and head out into the orchard with your family to experience the farm. Follow us on social media to stay up to date on whats in the store or available in the orchard.

We look forward to sharing our beautiful harvest with you.

-Draper Girls 



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