Hand-thinning (Prunus persica L. Batsch) “Y”-trained peach trees at bloom and 51 days after full bloom (DAFB) was compared to mechanical fruit thinning 51 DAFB using a spiked-drum and an impact shaker. The spiked-drum shaker removed more fruit from horizontal branches than from vertical branches, yet did not selectively remove either large or small fruit. Bloom thinning by hand increased fruit size compared to postbloom thinning 51 DAFB, and both postbloom mechanical thinning techniques were as effective as postbloom hand thinning. The spiked-drum shaker may be a better thinning technique than the impact shaker because it transfers less shaking energy to the fruit, can be used in high-density plantings, and does not contact the trunk, lessening the potential for tree damage.
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Istituto Sperimentale per la Fruitticoltura di Roma, Sezione di Forli, Piazzale della Vittoria, 15, Forli, Italy 47100.