Many people are disappointed with the size of their home grown fruit. “Why isn’t it as big as the fruit I see in the store?” First, with most commercial operations, fruit is run through a packing house where it is cleaned and sorted by quality and size. Then the larger-sized fruit are sent to market where they get the best price.
Second, most commercial farms put into practice a sophisticated fertilization program, including tissue analysis, which maximizes plant nutrient usage. Homeowners, on the other hand, do not spend that much time or money to optimize their fertilization program and they don’t necessarily have to!
There are several specific conditions, however, that will contribute to poor fruit size:
- Lack of irrigation – young fruit is particularly susceptible.
- Lack of sufficient heat units, i.e., a cool growing season
- Lack of nutrients including potassium
- Desiccating winds
- Viral diseases, nematodes, root-attacking fungi, and insect infestations.