In spring when you’re doing your fruit thinning you may notice a lot of double fruits in your fruit trees. It seems to be more common in some seasons than others.



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In fact, once you’re looking you may find that it’s quite common to see double fruit (like the cherries at the top of the blog). As you can see in this example, very often both of the fruits that are joined together are perfectly usable.

The next photo is an unusual example where the stem itself has split (but again, the fruit is absolutely fine). Doubles—or conjoined fruit—are not an uncommon occurrence, particularly in stone fruit.

Conjoined apricots with a single stem
Conjoined apricots with a single stem

Are double fruit a problem?

Some varieties like Angelina plums and other European-type plums seem particularly prone to this.

They are often a good demonstration of the case where one piece of fruit dominates the other and ends up much larger.

This situation doesn’t always have a good outcome.

Conjoined Angelina plums where one plum is much bigger than the other
Conjoined Angelina plums where one plum is much bigger than the other

In many cases, one of the pieces of fruit ends up so small as to really be un-usable.

You can see that in the example below. Or, the skin is torn when separating the two fruits, which of course downgrades the quality of the fruit.

A rude Angelina plum
A rude Angelina plum

Sometimes the extra piece of fruit is so small as to be insignificant. In this case it can usually be safely removed without damaging the main fruit.

But they’re also often cute, funny, or downright rude, so why would you?

What causes double fruit and is it avoidable?

Whether a fruit will be doubled or not is determined the summer before, when the fruit buds are developing.

If the young buds go through heat or water stress during the summer months, this increases the development of doubled fruit.

There’s not much you can do about heat waves, particularly with climate change affecting our environment so quickly. But you can make sure your trees get enough water (especially during a heat wave) to minimise the stress on the tree.

Irregular or inadequate watering can also be one of the causes of fruit splitting, which is another whole story but can look like this.

A green nectarine with a split in it, possibly caused by irregular watering
A green nectarine with a split in it, possibly caused by irregular watering

In a home garden, it’s not terribly important whether you have double fruit or not because it’s usually still usable. But it can be a bit ugly, and now you know how to avoid it!

Download Smart Irrigation for Fruit Trees for more tips about how to irrigate wisely without wasting water or money.

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Fruit tree training

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