Resources for the homeowner/small-scale fruit producer

NEW: Backyard Apples (J. Clements and Wes Autio) presentation at April 7, 2018 Mass Aggie Seminar,Windy Hill Farm, Great Barrington, MA

NEW: What's Bugging You?, J. Clements presentation at April 7, 2018 Mass Aggie Seminar, Windy Hill Farm, Great Barrington, MA

NEW: No Bad Apples, D. Cooley presentation at April 7, 2018 Mass Aggie Seminar, Windy Hill Farm, Great Barrington, MA

NEW: Pruning Apple Trees, J. Clements presentation at March 24, 2018 Mass Aggie Seminar, Windy Hill Farm, Great Barrington, MA

Apple Fruiting Wall (J. Clements) presentation at April 30, 2016 MassAggie Seminar, Smolak Farms, N. Andover, MA (also see parts list)

Apple Pest Control Schedule for New Jersey Home Orchards

Peach and Nectarine Pest Control Schedule for New Jersey Home Orchards

Pruning and training tree fruit

Fruit tree pruning...the bare basics (March, 2014)

Video: Win and Jon's 7 rules of apple pruning

Video: Open center (vase) peach tree pruning simplified (with Wes Autio)

Here is my April 20, 2013 MassAggie Seminar (Sholan Farm, Leominster, MA) presentation (and associated documents) on the Apple Fruiting Wall: The Apple Fruiting Wall (PDF presentation) | Apple Fruiting Wall parts list (PDF parts list) | A High Density Apple Production System for the Home Gardener (PDF document)

Tree fruit pest management

Here is my presentation 'What's Bugging You?' for homeowner pest ID and management for apples and stone fruit. I have used these for the Berkshire Botanical Garden Horticulture Certificate Series (Orchard and Small Fruit Cultivation) and MassAggie Seminars. Here also, are the presentations by Dan Cooley and Jon Clements from the April 27, 2013 MassAggie Seminar at Sholan Farm in Leominster, MA: No Bad Apples (PDF) | What's Bugging You (PDF)

Great Lakes IPM is perhaps the best source for monitoring/pheromone traps. Other sources of pest management supplies include Gardens Alive! and Gemplers.

June 2009 (links updated April 2013): I just found this article 'Fungicides for Disease Control in the Home Landscape' at Oregon State University's Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook. Useful for understanding the different fungicide options for controlling fruit diseases (scab, brown rot, leaf spots, etc.)

Small fruit

Nourse Farms arguably is one of the best sources of small fruit plants (strawberry, bramble, blueberry, others) because they are local (Massachusetts) and have an excellent reputation. On-line catalog includes concise and useful variety descriptions and planting/growing tips. Alternately, Cornell has a complete Nursery Guide for Berry Crops. Miller Nurseries is the source for the low-growing, extra-hardy blueberries Northsky, Northblue, and Northcountry.

The Berry Diagnostic Tool at Cornell is useful in identifying problems that affect berry crops.

Here are the presentation(s) I used for the Berkshire Botanical Garden Horticulture Certificate Series (Orchard and Small Fruit Cultivation) courtesy of Sonia Schloemann:

  1. Introduction and strawberries
  2. Brambles
  3. Blueberries
  4. Grapes and currants/gooseberries

From Cornell's main 'Gardening resources' page, there is a link to 'Fruit,' which in particular has a page on 'Minor Fruits'(gooseberries, elderberries, quinces, etc.).

Nurseries

Although I have no experience with them, every year Schlabachs Nursery (Medina, NY) sends me a nice, small catalog with most everything fruit-related -- including heirloom and disease-resistant apples, berries, grapes, and supplies. No on-line presence, however, call them for a catalog: 866-600-5203 (toll free, leave message to request a catalog).

Like Schlabachs, I have not had direct experience with them, St. Lawrence Nurseries in Potsdam, NY has good reviews and certainly only sells nursery stock adapted to the coldest of our northeast climates.

Commercial growers here in the northeast buy many apple and peach trees from Adams County Nursery in Aspers, PA, and in addition, they seem amenable to handling small orders for homeowner/hobby growers. I recommend them.

Stark Bros. Fruit Trees and Nursery is sometimes maligned, but they also sell fruit trees to the commercial trade, have a large selection, and are particulalry well-geared to handling smaller orders. Don't rule them out.

Other resources

Penn State's 'Fruit Production for the Home Gardener: A Comprehensive Guide' is the most comprehensive on-line resource covering all facets of small-scale fruit production I know of.

©2016 Jon Clements and the UMass Fruit Advisor