How to increase stone fruit size and weight

Potassium is a key driver of stone fruit size or weight and alongside nitrogen is required in large quantities throughout fruit development and ripening.

However, too much nitrogen at a late growth stage can restrict fruit size and quality, therefore a balanced nutrient application is crucial. Phosphorus as well as calcium have been shown to improve fruit growth too.

Iron supply also positively influences fruit size/weight, increasing crop yields.

Crop nutrition and stone fruit size and weight

Nitrogen

Trials on plums confirm that the improved yield from nitrogen is due, in part, to an increase in fruit size.

Phosphorus

On soils where phosphorus levels are low, moderate phosphorus application has a direct effect on fruit size and yield of peaches.

Common practice is to use soil phosphorus applications prior to the spring. However, a particularly heavy fruit load can significantly reduce leaf phosphorus-content over the season. In this situation, foliar phosphate applications can maintain a good fruit growth.

Potassium

Trials with sour cherries and peaches confirm that some of the yield increase comes from an increase in fruit weight after application of potassium.

Calcium

Calcium is essential for cell division and cell elongation, thereby ensuring good fruit growth. The calcium content of fruits can be rather low, because it moves mainly with the water to the transpiring organs, i.e. the leaves. In this situation, calcium sprays can help to increase the fruit calcium content and maintain a good fruit growth.

Iron

Iron is primarily required for a strong photosynthetic activity of the leaves to fuel growth and maximize fruit number, size and yield. Peaches are the most sensitive stone fruit crop to iron deficiency and on alkaline soils the use of iron chelates is necessary for peach production.

Are you looking for a crop nutrition programme for your fruit trees?

See our fertiliser programmes for different orghard crops, both top fruit and stone fruit, begin by choosing your crop.