1. K-State home
  2. »Research and Extension
  3. »Butler County
  4. »Horticulture
  5. »Agent Articles
  6. »Fruit Articles
  7. »Thinning Fruit

Butler County

Thinning Fruit

thinning apples

Sometimes too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Such is the case when your fruit trees (except cherries) are over loaded with fruit. Too much fruit can interfere with fruit bud development this summer which results in a smaller crop or even no crop the next year and the heavy fruit can lead to damage of the limbs or breaking limbs in some cases. Having extra fruit will also make for smaller, lower quality fruit even though you get lots of them. The only fruit tree that doesn’t need thinned is a cherry tree that can carry the full fruit load. Below are some recommendations for thinning fruits on various species:

  • Apples and Pears- Fruit should be 6-8” apart. Apples tend to cluster in groups of five, if that is the case leave only the biggest fruit from the cluster.
  • Peaches- Thin so fruits are 6-8” apart. Peaches also tend to cluster, try to average 7” between fruit if possible.
  • Plums and Prunes- Thin to 4-5” apart
  • Apricots- Thin to 2-4” apart.

Thin fruit on trees as early as possible to reduce the stress on the trees and increase the size of the fruit that is left. To remove the fruit, simply pinch the excess fruit off with your fingers or use pruners. Be careful to clean pruners when moving from one tree to another and try not to break off the fruiting spur when you are thinning the fruit.

MG Logo

Have questions? Contact our office where our Horticulture Extension Agent will assist you with questions.

Phone: (316) 321-9660

Email: callae@ksu.edu