As part of our continuing series about fruit thinning, this week we’ll have a look at cherries, because we’re often asked if they also need thinning.

Tiny cherries in spring
Tiny cherries in spring

In fact, we recommend thinning all deciduous fruit (well, all the types we grow anyway) except for cherries.

In non-organic orchards, most thinning is done with chemicals, but in organic orchards and gardens we do it all by hand.

One of the most exciting parts of spring is actually at the end of the blossom period. It’s not always possible to tell just from how many flowers your tree has how big the crop will be.

Watching the flowers dry up and fall off your trees reveals the tiny fruit underneath, and it’s only then that you can really start to assess how big (or small) your crop will be.

Cherry flowers falling off to reveal the tiny cherries underneath
Cherry flowers falling off to reveal the tiny cherries underneath

Cherries usually have a pretty good crop most years – they are not as likely to have a heavy crop one year followed by a light crop the year after (which is called biennial bearing).

Plus, they grow on nice long stems, so don’t crowd each other out. It’s also pretty unusual to see branches or laterals in cherry trees breaking from the weight of bearing too much fruit.

In fact, most of the reasons we thin other fruit doesn’t apply to cherries, so that’s one job we don’t have to do!