A short season for stone fruit might mean producers will need to thin fruit to meet sizing expectations. According to models, a late bloom coupled with a hot second-half to April has shortened this year’s stone fruit season. “If the model plays out…the model says this will be a short growing season,” UC Cooperative Extension Tree Crop Farm Advisor Franz Niederholzer said. “If it takes 150 to 160 days to mature prunes, this year they are predicting 151.”
Niederholzer said that short prediction means growers need to consider thinning this year. “A cooler spring means more time for the cells in the fruit to divide, so there are more cells present,” he said. “In a warm spring you don’t have as much time for that cell division to happen and so you have fewer cells in the fruit…It’s really important in a warm spring like this to check you crop load and where you need to be a little more aggressive with thinning.”
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