Performance of mechanical thinners for bloom or green fruit thinning in peaches

Stephen S. Miller, James Rawlinson Schupp, Tara A. Baugher, Scott D. Wolford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) thinning is a costly and time-consuming but necessary practice to produce a crop of marketable size fruit. A number of mechanical devices and methods have been developed and evaluated to reduce the cost and time required for hand thinning peach. This report provides additional evidence that a Darwin string thinner can effectively thin peach at bloom and a spiked drum shaker can thin at bloom or at the green fruit (pit hardening) stage. Five trials were conducted over 2 years in grower orchards with trees trained to a perpendicular V system. A Darwin string thinner at 60% to 80% full bloom (FB) reduced crop load (fruit/cm2 limb cross-sectional area) on scaffold limbs by 21%to 50% compared with a hand-thinned control. At the 60% FB stage, a USDA-designed double-spiked drum shaker reduced crop load by 27% and in another trial, a USDA prototype single-drum shaker reduced crop load by 9%. Across all trials, the spiked drum shakers (single or double units) removed an average of 37% of the green fruit. All mechanical devices reduced the time required for follow-up hand thinning. Follow-up hand-thinning costs (US$/ha) were reduced an average of 27% by mechanical thinning devices over hand-thinned control trees. Fruit size was increased over handthinned controls bymechanical thinning in most, but not all, trials.Acombined treatment of the Darwin string thinner at bloom followed by a drumshaker (single or double unit) at the green fruit stage produced the greatest net economic impact in a number of the trials. Despite overthinning in some trials, the mechanical thinning devices described provide a potential alternative to hand thinning alone in peach production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalHortscience: A Publication of the American Society for Hortcultural Science
Volume46
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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thinning (plants)
peaches
drums (containers)
drums (equipment)
hands
fruits
crops
USDA
branches
stone fruits
Prunus persica
economic impact
prototypes
growers
orchards

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture

Cite this

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title = "Performance of mechanical thinners for bloom or green fruit thinning in peaches",
abstract = "Peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) thinning is a costly and time-consuming but necessary practice to produce a crop of marketable size fruit. A number of mechanical devices and methods have been developed and evaluated to reduce the cost and time required for hand thinning peach. This report provides additional evidence that a Darwin string thinner can effectively thin peach at bloom and a spiked drum shaker can thin at bloom or at the green fruit (pit hardening) stage. Five trials were conducted over 2 years in grower orchards with trees trained to a perpendicular V system. A Darwin string thinner at 60{\%} to 80{\%} full bloom (FB) reduced crop load (fruit/cm2 limb cross-sectional area) on scaffold limbs by 21{\%}to 50{\%} compared with a hand-thinned control. At the 60{\%} FB stage, a USDA-designed double-spiked drum shaker reduced crop load by 27{\%} and in another trial, a USDA prototype single-drum shaker reduced crop load by 9{\%}. Across all trials, the spiked drum shakers (single or double units) removed an average of 37{\%} of the green fruit. All mechanical devices reduced the time required for follow-up hand thinning. Follow-up hand-thinning costs (US$/ha) were reduced an average of 27{\%} by mechanical thinning devices over hand-thinned control trees. Fruit size was increased over handthinned controls bymechanical thinning in most, but not all, trials.Acombined treatment of the Darwin string thinner at bloom followed by a drumshaker (single or double unit) at the green fruit stage produced the greatest net economic impact in a number of the trials. Despite overthinning in some trials, the mechanical thinning devices described provide a potential alternative to hand thinning alone in peach production.",
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Performance of mechanical thinners for bloom or green fruit thinning in peaches. / Miller, Stephen S.; Schupp, James Rawlinson; Baugher, Tara A.; Wolford, Scott D.

In: Hortscience: A Publication of the American Society for Hortcultural Science, Vol. 46, No. 1, 01.2011, p. 43-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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