Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apple thinning

For those following the apple trees, I should mention that I spent a couple of hours last week thinning the apples. At first it seems counterintuitive, but when you lose a whole limb of a mature apple tree because there were too many apples for the branch to hold, it starts to make sense. Also, thinning helps to improve fruit size and increases the number of blossoms for next year, and to prevent tree breakage. Where the apple blooms once were there are now 4 or more apples. They are tightly pressed against each other and there is no more room for them to get bigger.

I get picky about which fruit I leave on the branch, aiming for them to be spaced about 4 inches apart.

Some apples don't develop well or have scabs and I get rid of these.

At this time, I also find branches that have been damaged by the sprayer or with brown leaves. I cut these off.

I put the thinned apples into buckets, with the hope of feeding a few of them to the animals every day. Too many at once would give the goats bloat, and diarrhea to the chickens. But later that day, Damon and his friend found the buckets of thinned apples and decided that it would be more fun to whip them at each other.

Damon may have been holding the bucket, but Damon's sisters were both supplying his friend with apples to throw.
Fun times. Now the apples are composting on the lawn.