For all backyard “orchardists” or anyone with young fruit trees the subject of fruit thinning is a tricky one. The tendency for most newbies is to want to get as much fruit as quickly as possible. I’ll admit I’m guilty of that myself.
Unfortunately, that’s not always what’s best for the long term production of the tree. So, you have to ask yourself, does the short term reward of getting a little bit of fruit early on outweigh the long term gain of a healthy tree that produces bushels for you down the road??
My Dorsett Golden is flush with apples. Some of the branches have clusters of 3 and 4. However, my dreams of homemade apple pies, apple sauce, baked apples, apple butter, etc, must be tempered with reality. It’s just not good to have that much fruit on a tree this young. A tree this size should really only have one per cluster and ideally not up high like they are here.
Another good rule of thumb is one apple per 30 leaves. Like I’m going to count all of the leaves on this tree. The easiest way is to simply thin it to one or two apples per cluster which is what I’m going to do. That way, I’ll still get some fruit and the tree will be able to put the extra energy in to getting bigger for next year. It’s all about planning ahead..