The Q&A Archives: Inhibiting fruit production on apple and peach trees

Question: I love my apple and peach trees, but hate the mess they make each year with their fruit. I have heard there is a spray I can use when they flower to stopthem from producing fruit for the season. Can you supply it or tell me what it's name is and where toobtain it? I would hate to have to cut them down butwe just don't eat that much of the fruit. Lorita Davis Ponca City, OK

Answer: There are certain sprays that will inhibit fruit production; however, these are regulated, toxic chemicals restricted for home use and available only to licensed commercial growers. One suggestion is to simply shake the tree at around the time the petals are falling, and perhaps again a week or two later. This will cause a good number of the flowers and developing fruits to drop, and at this stage they are tiny and easily raked up. Note that a healthy, vigorous tree will actually produce less fruit that a stressed one, so keep tree well watered and fertilized. Do you have any neighbors, or a local food shelf, that could use the fruit? Perhaps you could spread the word and a neighbor could come by to gather the fruit. You might even get a jar or two of peach jam or apple jelly to boot!

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