How to increase stone fruit yield

The right combination of an optimum fruit load on the tree and a high fruit weight or size is essential to achieve high stone fruit yields.

A farmer can influence the number of fruits per tree and the size of the fruits through a proper nutrient management. 

By choosing a balanced crop nutrition approach, farmers can optimize yield and investment in fertiliser while minimizing the opportunity for excess nutrients to negatively impact the environment.

Crop Nutrition and Stone Fruit Yield

Nitrogen and potassium are key elements in boosting shoot, leaf growth and fruit set/size and fill. 

Phosphorus is important for early growth and rooting, and then again for leaf growth, flowering, fruit set and yield. 

Calcium is needed to ensure healthy leaf development and canopy growth, thereby providing a firm platform for high yields. 

Magnesiumiron and manganese, ensure good photosynthetic activity, leading to strong fruit set and retention on the tree. 

Poor availability of any micronutrient will restrict growth and yield. Boron and zinc are particularly important at flowering to maximize flower number and fruit set.

Other Crop Management Practices Increasing Stone Fruit Yield

  • High yields are obtained on freely drained soils where water is not limiting. Stone fruits prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0).
  • Tree density, orchard orientation and spacing are critical to ensure crops make best use of environmental conditions so that yield potentials are reached.
  • Pruning is also essential as to get the balance between leaf and fruit number right to produce the desired fruit size without compromising quality.
  • The use of fungicides and insecticides will reduce the effects of pests and diseases on fruit loss and marketable yield.