When is the proper time to thin fruit on apple, pear, and peach trees?

Apples and pears have three periods when some immature fruit drops naturally from the tree. The June drop (Zones 6 and 7) is the last one, and many growers feel that thinning should follow this drop. However, if a heavy bloom has coincided with good weather so that bees worked the blooms, the chances are that relatively few fruit will drop from the tree. In this instance, heavy thinning is required. The earlier the fruit are thinned, the greater the size of the remaining fruit. Apples and pears are typically thinned after the June drop, when fruit are about 3/4 inch in diameter. Apples and pears should not be thinned by hitting the limbs with a stick; this removes the larger fruit and damages many of the remaining fruit. Peaches are hand thinned or thinned by hitting the lower scaffold limbs with a padded stick early in the morning when fruit are about an inch in diameter.