Heading of shoots and hand thinning of flowers and fruits on 'BRS Kampai' peach trees

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of shoot heading and of hand thinning in different development stages of flowers and fruits on the fruit production and quality of 'BRS Kampai' peach (Prunus persica) trees. The experiment was performed during three crop years, under the conditions of the “Depressão Central” region in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and the treatments were: T1, heading of half of the mixed shoot; T2, heading of one third of the mixed shoot; T3, flower thinning in the pink bud stage; T4, thinning at full bloom; T5, thinning of fruit with 5 mm; T6, thinning of fruit with 20 mm; and T7, no thinning or heading (control). Fruit production and quality were evaluated. Plants with no thinning were more productive, but showed high frequency of fruits with a diameter smaller than 60 mm. Shoot heading reduced production per tree and resulted in small-sized fruit. Thinning time did not affect production, and fruit size was greater when thinning was performed at the bloom stage. 'BRS Kampai' peach trees can be thinned starting at bloom, which provides greater fruit size, with no production loss.