We have been busy with our fruit thinning, we have to get to them before the stone hardens, and so we hired more staff to get the job done.

There’s always this debate that you are leaving too much fruits on, or you are taking too much fruits off. So… who is right?

Is fruit thinning a science or an art? Or both?

I’ll like to think of the fruit tree as a factory producing fruits. The number of fruits it can produced will be limited by its production capacity, such as machinery and labor.

Say, if the factory can only produce 100 fruits, and some greedy salesman took an order in for 200 fruits, the factory need to work at twice its capacity. What will happen? Machine breakdown… Staff go on strike… Low quality outcome… Trees dropping off fruits. Trees with very small fruits. Broken branches. Trees bearing very little fruits the following year. Sounds familiar?

Yes, take more fruits off, tell the customer that you can’t do 200 fruits without compromising quality.

Then do you go about producing 50 fruits? Because maybe if you operate below capacity, your staff will pay more attention on each fruit as they go past? Say, if you are the only customer at McDonald and you ordered a burger, will the staff give you an extra slice of cheese? Not unless you pay for it.

That’s when you hear your boss coming around and tell you that “you are taking too much off!”.

If the factory can produce 100 fruits, you should make it produce 100 fruits. Now, the factory is the tree. And there are so many trees in the block. And each tree/factory is different and has got a different optimum production capacity. How? *palmface*

Unless, you have an equipment which you can point at a tree and it will tell you what’s the optimum capacity, much like the speed radar used by traffic police. When you have that, then its science. Else, its art.

It comes down to looking at each tree, getting a sense of how it is doing by looking at the foliar, are they dense or scarce? How about the fruits, are they exceptionally small, or a tad bit larger than the average, or just average? Press your ear onto the tree, can you hear it whispering to you and tell you how it should be thinned out (just kidding).

Fruit thinning is a science, to know what is the general size of the fruit, specific to variety, and leaving enough space for each fruits to size up. Keep a shark in a 1 meter tank and it will be a 1 meter shark. Put it in a 2 meter tank and you get a 2 meter shark.

Fruit thinning is an art, to go about each tree, assessing it, deciding if you should thin it harder because the tree looks like its struggling. And of course, getting rid of that very talented fruit at the end of tip of the branch because it will break the branch and lose all your fruits on it.

In a nutshell, is fruit thinning an art or a science?