Last year our mature peach tree produced a minimal crop due to unfavorable weather conditions. Summer arrived in March forcing a premature bloom. Winter returned in April and froze many of the blossoms. The rest of the summer was plagued with drought. We were pleased that our fruit trees survived such a tumultuous growing season.
This year is quite the opposite. The temperatures have been seasonally appropriate and our fruit trees bloomed beautifully in April. Pollination must have been adequate because the peach tree is loaded with an abundance of walnut-sized fruits. There are so many little peaches forming on the tree that we expect branches will break under the weight of the fruit or the whole tree will simply keel over.
Experts advise thinning the crop. Heavy fruit like peaches should grow no closer than every four inches, about the width of an adult hand. Thin branches can't hold more than one peach. At harvest time, it will be far more satisfying to bring in a bushel of 100 large peaches rather than a bushel of 500 tiny peaches. It's important to be realistic about how much fruit one tree can produce.
So we thinned the crop. Using our awesome orchard ladder, we removed hundreds of tiny green peaches. It seems like a shame, but in another month or so I think we'll be glad we did it.