Preventing Small Fruit – Enhancing Fruit Growth

growing better fruit in the uk

The one thing that usually shocks new tree growers is that the fruits their trees produce are much smaller than the ones they used to see at the grocery store.

“What is wrong with my tree? What Did I Do Wrong?” (You may cry)

However, small fruits are a natural occurrence. But while smaller fruits might be what nature originally intended, it is possible to attain larger fruits without any genetic altering or added chemicals. The professionals can only reach such large sizes with their fruits through advanced techniques.

Usually, in the early stages of a fruit tree’s growth, veterans do something called ìfruit thinningî. The theory behind this process is that with fewer fruits to pay attention to, the tree can send cells to the leftover fruits more efficiently. When there are hundreds of little fruits on one tree, competing for the available materials necessary for growth, you will most likely end up with many stunted fruits. To take care of this problem, pluck a third of the fruits early in the process. You should notice larger fruits that season.

On almost any tree, the success of each individual fruit depends on the spacing. Usually, there should not be any fruits within six to eight inches of each other. During the fruit thinning process, this is the distance you should generally aim for to optimize the amount of nutrition that each fruit gets. Any closer and youíll find they are crowding each other out. Usually, this is the first mistake that a new tree grower makes. Having tons of fruit starting to grow is not always a good thing!

Sometimes small fruits are caused by conditions out of the gardenerís control. During the process of cell division that all new fruits go through, cool weather can be fatal to the largeness of your fruits. Likewise, if the weather is particularly cloudy very early in the season, fewer carbohydrates will be available to your plants. Occasionally, if the factors are all against the well-being of your fruit tree, then the fruits will drop to the ground before they are even ripe. A lack of water or certain nutrients or excessive pests and diseases can also damage the growth of fruits. If you notice these things happening early in the season, you should do more fruit thinning than normal. Sometimes as much as three-fourths of the fruits should come off, to allow full nutrition to those who remain.

The best way to find out how to gain larger fruit sizes is to experiment. If your tree has been around for a while, there is almost nothing you can do to it to cause it to die or stop producing fruit. Test different thinning techniques or anything you can think of to make the fruits larger. You might even head down to your local nursery and ask what they would suggest. They will be able to give you advice based on your region and specific tree, which is better than anything I could tell you. So donít settle with small fruits. Go out there and find out what exactly you need to do to improve the size.

Cover Photo by Felix Mittermeier

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