Discarding perfectly good fruit

Discarding perfectly good fruit

I hate throwing away what could potentially be yummy apples.  My friends at a SoCal Harvest would be appalled if they saw me last week.  I removed a large number of small apples on both my espaliers.   3 weeks to a month after they set fruit, I manually pick off some of the thumb sized apples to increase the size of the remaining apples, increase air flow around the fruit, and mainly reduce the stress on the tree limbs.  Too many apples can actually bend or snap young branches, and I learned that one the hard way.

Anna and Dorset are heavy producers and can set up to 8 apples on one spur.  I don’t really mind small apples, and I don’t care for grapefruit size ones, but one year, I neglected the thinning task.  I ended up with a bunch of golf ball sized apples at the end of the season and a broken branch on one of my espaliers, permanently ruining the apple’s espalier structure.  After that, I realized, it was necessary for the long  term health and beauty of the tree, too.  When I take the time to thin, I still get plenty of apples and probably the same volume of fruit overall; it just put its energy into making less apples bigger.

Last week, I enjoyed working outside in the warm weather and picked off a couple of hundred baby apples on each tree.  I included some before and after photos of the apple tree thinning.

Before thinning out the spur of extra Anna apples
After thinning the spur down to just one apple

I would love to know what you think about this.

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