This New Tool Helps Make Peach Thinning a “Cinch!”


The “Cinch” attaches to any 1/2″ chuck on a cordless drill.

Grandpa’s Orchard is best known for the trees that it offers, and not the hardware!  In fact, Grandpa has concentrated on offering the widest selection of deciduous fruit varieties you are likely to find anywhere.  True, we do offer a few related products, like tree wraps, bird scare tape, and a book, but we haven’t tried to compete with the local hardware store.

So, when Grandpa first learned about the “Cinch” blossom thinning attachment, he got excited and realized that it could be a very handy tool for the backyard orchardist too.  So, Grandpa and his friend Phil Miller, the inventor of the “Cinch”, talked and made a deal so that we can offer his handy invention to you, rather than just commercial growers.

If you want BIG fruit, you usually HAVE to thin!  Unless you have a light set of fruit due to frost or freeze, almost all peaches and nectarines will set 10 or more times more fruit than they can carry to size.  Commercial fruit growers know that they have to thin most of the bloom or fruit off early in the season to have a commercial crop.  They know that the earlier that thinning is done, the larger the resulting fruit.  In fact, in many areas growers will thin at bloom time.  Experience and research has proven that blossom thinning results in better fruit size than waiting until that bloom has set a fruit, and then thinning the small fruits off.

While there is much research being done on mechanized machines in commercial orchards to help reduce the high labor costs of hand thinning, so far these machines are expensive and require that the grower trains his trees to “meet the needs” of the machine!  Phil Miller has invented a much less expensive and much more flexible thinning aid which commercial growers are now adopting and using to greatly reduce their labor costs as well as speed up the thinning process.

How can this help the backyard peach or cherry grower?

Often, customers complain that their fruit is too small.  Many don’t realize that proper thinning and pruning is needed to reduce crop load and improve fruit size.

The “Cinch” easily attaches to a 1/2″ cordless drill.  The user can use the spinning tubes to knock off some of the bloom through-out the tree.  Of course, it takes a little practice and experience to learn how much to knock off, when to do it, and where to concentrate your efforts, but the skill is easily acquired.

The “Cinch” is best used on peach and nectarine blooms, from just before they start opening to anytime they remain on the tree.  It can also be used on sweet cherries, where there is too heavy a bloom set, which can often happen on dwarf and semi-dwarf trees on size controlling rootstocks like Gisela(R).  I would imagine it would work quite well on plums and apricots too, if you are lucky enough to live in a micro-climate where you get heavy fruit set and little frost damage.

The “Cinch” won’t damage trees if used properly, but care needs to be taken when using it, especially if there are leaves starting to expand on the limbs later during the bloom time.  Trying to thin small fruits off can result in damaging the newly forming and expanding leaves.  Taking too many leaves off during the process can defeat some of the beneficial effects.  You need lots of healthy leaves to feed the fruit.

There may be other uses on other fruits.  Some organic apple and pear growers are trying to bloom thin, but care needs to be taken not to do damage and create an environment for fire blight.

Matter of fact, you may think up your own use for a “Cinch” that Phil and Grandpa haven’t thought of.  Let us know if you do!