Thinning Apricots & Pruning A Japanese Maple

Question:

I’ve been told that I can increase the size of my apricots if  I took off some the blooms. Is this a good idea? Would this also apply to apple trees?

Answer:

  • Yes, Apricots and Apples along with Pears, Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums and should be thinned.  It would be very labor intensive to thin the blossoms. It’s also somewhat hazardous dodging the pollinating bees.
  • Instead, It’s easier to thin the fruit after it sets. I’d thin Apricots in April and May while the other varieties can be thinned through June. I’d remove the fruit out at the ends of the branches.
    • The weight of the maturing fruit can break the limbs. Next, remove those fruits that are close together for proper spacing. The appropriate spacing should be equal to twice the diameter of the mature fruit.
  •  Apricots will form on both sides of a branch so you would thin each side independently. With cluster fruits like Apple, you need to the thin‹‹each clusters to two or three apples. Don’t be alarmed by the number of fruits you remove.
  • Fruit trees do produce more fruits than it can support. The trees will naturally drop the excess in June. 

Question:

I have a beautiful, mature Japanese Maple. It had a beautiful canopy until we removed the tree next to it. Now it’s lopsided. Can I prune this tree to shape it and how aggressive should I be?            

Answer:

  • This, unfortunately, happens way too often as plants are planted to close to one another. By the time the problem is recognized the remaining plant has a hole in its canopy. The gap doesn’t fill in overnight so expect it to take several growing season to fill in.
  • Right now, I’d reduce the top growth and sides but it still going to be lopsided. The amount you remove is a judgment call on your part.
    • The next step is to encourage new growth with nutrients. Happy Frog Japanese Maple Fertilizer from Foxfarm is one of several organic fertilizers blended for maples.
    • One-half cup of fertilizer per two feet of growth is applied monthly through October. As the new growth develops, remove any shoots that are growing in the wrong direction. This can be done at any time of the year.
  •  And finally, I’d also record the progress with the digital camera or smartphone.