Learning how to thin fruit trees in a food forest is important for anyone interested in growing a thriving backyard orchard. This is an important food forest task that most people don’t think about when dreaming of growing a big backyard orchard. Due to the large volume of thinning work keeping your trees small and manageable is important for the urban homesteader.

Thinning fruit trees is always a hard task to do. We spend so much time planting, watering, nurturing, and pruning our fruit trees so that they can grow a big bountiful crop and then we have to remove all of these fruit from the branches. However, it is the best thing for you to do in order to ensure a crop of delicious fruit because if you do not you will likely end up with small unedible fruits or worse, broken tree branches due to being overburdened with the heavy fruits.

How to thin fruit trees:
It’s best to thin them when the fruits are small around the size of a dime. A fruit tree may purge fruit in June on its own even if you do not thin them to self-regulate the amount of production. Reduce the number of fruit down to one or two fruit per spur for apples and pears and down to one fruit every 6 to 8 inches for stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, and apricots.

Why thin fruit trees? It will improve the crop for this year, but it will also help ensure that the tree will fruit in the following years as some trees allowed to bear an extra-large crop will skip the following year.