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Stephen C. Myers, Amy T. Savelle, D. Stuart Tustin, and Ross E. Byers

Partial thinning of peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) during bloom to 50% of the necessary level by hand, and followed by adjustment hand thinning at 42 days after full bloom (DAFB) was compared to a similar degree of thinning accomplished entirely at 42 DAFB by hand. Partial flower thinning altered the distribution of fruit by diameter, increasing the percentage of large diameter (≥62.0 mm) fruit harvested compared to unthinned trees or trees thinned entirely at 42 DAFB. Although shoot number per limb was not altered by thinning time, the distribution of shoots by length was affected, increasing the percentage of long shoots (≥20.0 cm). Compared to unthinned trees and trees thinned at 42 DAFB, partial flower thinning increased the subsequent development of flower buds per shoot and the number of flower buds per node. Number of flower buds on the proximal five nodes of shoots 15.0-30.0 cm in length was increased, although not on shoots 5.0-7.0 cm in length. Additional trials established that airblast spray application of AMADS was effective in achieving a similar level of thinning as that accomplished by partial flower thinning by hand in previous experiments. The degree of flower removal exhibited a linear response to chemical concentration. Fruit diameter on chemically flower-thinned trees was greater at adjustment thinning time, when compared to trees thinned by hand at 42 DAFB only. Distribution of fruit at harvest indicated a larger percentage of fruit >65.0 mm in trees which received partial flower thinning in comparison to trees thinned at 42 DAFB only. As a result, overall crop value was increased, based on the commercial processing peach price structure at the time of harvest. Chemical name used: 1-aminomethanamide dihydrogen tetraoxosulfate (AMADS)