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A Hand-held Mechanical Blossom Thinning Device for Fruit Trees

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1110525.(doi:10.13031/2013.37213)
Authors:   Meng Wang, Hui Wang, Qin Zhang, Karen M Lewis, Patrick A Scharf
Keywords:   Blossom removal, Mechanical blossom thinning, Hand-held tool, Tree fruit

Blossom thinning is a common practice for producing lager and better quality fruits in tree fruit production. Mechanical thinning has the potential of decreasing production cost comparing with manual thinning and supports more environment friendly production than chemical thinning. This study aimed to develop a hand-held mechanical thinning device suitable for thinning blossoms on fruit trees. Research prototypes of different configurations have been developed, fabricated and tested in actual blossom thinning operations in commercial orchards. Results obtained from field tests verified that a hand-held mechanical blossom thinner could effectively remove blossoms from fruit trees of different pruned structures. Among all evaluated parameters, the spindle speed seems to have the most direct effect on blossom removal capacity. Outcomes obtained from this study proved that a hand-held mechanical blossom thinner could provide tree fruit growers a handy tool to perform effective blossom thinning operation. Field tests using current research prototypes also indicated that the device needed to have a better ergonomic design for further improving operation efficiency through reducing labor intensity.

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