Good Fruit Grower

April 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 55

Equipment Grower switches to mechanical THINNING Louis-Raphael Cournoyer demonstrated how he used the Darwin string thinner to thin his apples during the International Fruit Tree Association���s visit to his orchard last summer. He spoke about it again during an IFTA preconference workshop in Boston in February. hen the Darwin string thinner was invented in Germany, the machine was intended to give organic apple growers a tool to thin their crop by removing blossoms. The first reaction from American growers was, "No way. That would chop the young leaves into a salad that would be heavenly delight for fireblight." Unlike peaches and cherries, apple trees have leaves as well as flowers at bloom. Canadian apple grower Louis-Raphael Cournoyer wanted to see for himself. He bought a machine in 2010 and this spring will use it for the fourth year in a row. Not only has he seen no fireblight outbreak, he thinks using the machine somehow prevents fireblight, by removing flowers early and depriving fireblight of its most favorable entry point. He has fewer strikes than he did before using the tool, he said. Cournoyer, who grows fruit near Rougemont just south of Montreal, Quebec, told his story to other growers meeting with the International Fruit Tree Association in Boston in February. Most were incredulous. Pictures supported his story. The whirling plastic strings clipped off more than half of the flowers and put nicks into many of the young leaves. But the trees didn't look like chopped lettuce. Cournoyer, who bought his 145-acre orchard from his father in 2004, by Richard Lehnert said his dad's response was, "Removing the flowers? Are you sure you A Quebec apple grower finds that mechanical thinning does not promote fireblight. Quite the opposite. 32 April 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - April 1