I have two old peach trees on my property (my guess would be between 30-35 years old). I live in Kelowna B.C. and have a lot of peaches on my trees. One year I thinned them very early, when the peaches were the size of peas and I ended up with my peaches splitting. Another year I thinned them later and they were quite mealy. Last year I waited until the pits hardened and then thinned them, I also made sure that the trees were well watered, the result nice tasty peaches. This year there is so much fruit on my trees, they are now about an inch thick and the pits have not hardened, but I fear that if I leave it too long it will maybe break my branches. My question is can I do a light thinning now to get some weight off the branches and then another thinning when the pits have hardened?
Some articles say to thin peaches before the pits have hardened other say to thin after the pits have hardened. Last year when my peaches did not split and were quite tasty if it was because I waited for the pits to harden or that I watered them more.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Lucky you that you have an overabundance issue – obviously your trees are happy and they are good producers. You are located in British Columbia and may have a good source of information on peach trees from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture however a source of information on peach tree production is from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Peach and Nectarine Production. While it is quite technical and geared to the farmer, they do suggest that the fruit should be thinned at the 5th leaf stage as follows:
- Thin green fruit (6 – 8 inches apart) and allow tree to crop, 80-100 lbs.
- 300 peaches per tree (at 3 peaches per lb.) = 100 lbs. per tree
The web site has more information and is as follows:
Good luck and happy picking.