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WSU Tree Fruit

Get Ready for Thinning Season

Tory Schmidt, Tree Fruit Research Commission, Written March 10, 2016, updated April 1, 2018.

Spring is here and it is time to get ready for thinning season. While all aspects of orchard management are important, there may be no decision made by growers more critical to their economic bottom lines than how to thin their crop. Choices you make regarding your crop load management will fundamentally determine the primary drivers of your profitability: fruit size, fruit quality, total yield, and return bloom, not to mention how much time and money you will spend to hand thin, harvest, and prune your trees.

One of our best cooperators has a rather satirical, but sage perspective on the impact of these decisions: “Don’t worry if you mess up your thinning this year – you’ll have 23 months to figure out how to get it right the next time around.”

Basic flower anatomy including style.
Basic flower anatomy including style.

Here are some key points to keep in mind as you develop your thinning strategies:


Tory SchmitTory Schmidt

Project Manager
Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission
1719 Springwater Ave.
Wenatchee, WA  98801  USA
Office: (509) 665-8271 x4
Mobile: (509) 669-3903
Web: www.treefruitresearch.comWTFRC_LogoFruit Matters articles may only be republished with prior author permission © Washington State University. Reprint articles with permission must include: Originally published by Washington State Tree Fruit Extension Fruit Matters at and a link to the original article.