Organic Orcharding at Creekside Resort: Spraying and Thinning
Once fruit has set on the trees we spray with sulphur, a natural fungicide that helps prevent diseases, mixed with a fine powdered clay that is harmless but deters insects that bore into the trees and fruit. The trees need to be sprayed weekly with these substances until harvest. After petal fall the fruit on the trees needs to be thinned. Depending on the amount of fruit that has set and the kind and capacity of the tree, a sixth to a half of the fruit may need to be removed to insure that the fruit that matures is not small and that the trees are not overburdened, which can lead to broken branches. One thing that affects the amount of fruit a tree will set is how much it produced the previous year. If it bore heavily the previous year it will not set as much fruit this year. If it bore no fruit last year (like our peaches, which got frosted while blooming last spring) it will set a lot of fruit—much more than it should bring to harvest for premium quality fruit and the tree’s well-being. Since our pears and apples bore fruit last year, we do not expect to have to thin them much. However, we expect to have to remove about half of the fruit from the peach trees.
We are now past the time when the trees are most vulnerable to lower temperatures and are hopeful for a good crop this year. If Mother Nature cooperates and we work diligently we hope to have a bountiful harvest to share with our summer and fall guests.