Your Guide to Easy Fruit Tree Care

About Orchard People

Susan Poizner is the Founder of Orchard People Fruit Tree Care Education

If only growing fruit trees was easy. Many of us plant our trees thinking that all we need to do is water them and wait for the harvest. But fruit trees can experience problems including poor quality fruit, pests and disease. The goal of this website is to make fruit tree care easy though Orchard People's blog, podcast, books and online courses. 

My name is Susan Poizner and I’m a journalist, filmmaker and urban orchardist – and I created because this is exactly what I needed when I planted my first fruit trees in 2009. 

That was the year I co-founded the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in Toronto. We planted our trees with lots of hope and optimism, but it didn't take long before the problems started. Our fruit trees were hit with a variety of different pest and disease challenges including trellis rust on our pear trees, black knot on our plum trees, and canker on our apple and apricot trees. 

I learned early on that there is a lot more to organic fruit tree care than I had expected. So, I did what journalists do – I started researching! I read countless books, interviewed experts and found mentors to help teach me including organic orchardists, pomologists and scientists. Over the years I developed a simple and easy-to-implement way to grow organic fruit trees successfully that would help us care for and protect the trees in our park. 

My passion also lead me to travel across North America to visit and learn from community orchards from coast to coast. I was inspired by all of these projects. I documented these stories and shared the fruit tree care lessons that I learned in my award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards. (Winner of Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement 2014 Book: General Interest). 

I have been involved in training new growers since 2013 and over the years I have trained thousands of people from coast to coast in my in-person workshops, live webinars and in my online workshops on, an award-winning online e-learning portal in which students can learn all aspects of organic orchard care. (Winner of Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement 2014 Electronic: Special Project). 

I also host a fruit tree care radio show and podcast that reaches thousands of listeners around North America and beyond. 

My goal in creating this website is to inspire, educate and empower you to grow fruit successfully – whether it’s in your garden, schoolyard, or even in your local park. Growing fruit locally is a key step to being more connected to our environment and living a more sustainable life. 

I hope you’ll join me on this wonderful journey. I’d love to hear your questions and stories! There are lots of ways to keep in touch with me. You can email me anytime, or follow me on social media (see the links below). Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter for fruit tree care news, tips and seasonal reminders. Be in touch soon. In the meantime, happy growing! 

 Susan Poizner 
Director, Orchard People Fruit Tree Care Consulting and Education 
Toronto, Canada   

Hire Susan for keynote talks and presentations

Hire Susan for Live Talks, Keynotes, Presentations, Workshops and Webinars

Susan is a dynamic, professional and knowledgable speaker who inspires and entertains through her keynote presentations, talks, webinars and hands-on workshops. Here are a selection of Susan’s popular fruit tree care topics.  Susan also offers an in person 40-hour certificate program in fruit tree care covering all the topics below and more. Other talks can be customized to your needs. 
Beyond Delicious: Exploring Exotic Apples (1-hour presentation) 

Red Delicious has been the top selling apple in North America for decades. But compared to so many other apple varieties, Red Delicious is mealy and bland. Why has it taken so long for consumers to realize that this apple actually doesn’t taste very good? In this talk, fruit tree care educator and urban orchardist Susan Poizner delves into the history of growing and breeding apple cultivars in North America and introduces fantastic varieties that you can source (or grow) and use instead. You’ll learn how apple trees propagated and why growing them from seed will lead to disappointment. Susan explores how apples are marketed and why a small number of apple tree varieties dominate the market. And Susan introduces some of her favourite exotic apples, including heirloom apples as well as easy-to-grow newly developed cultivars. 

Growing Healthy Organic Fruit Trees: 10 Secrets to Success (1-hour presentation) 
More and more North Americans are planting fruit trees in their gardens, parks or on company land. But often new growers are disappointed. Without proper care, young fruit trees are vulnerable to pest and disease problems and often produce poor quality fruit. What many new growers don’t realize is that in order to thrive, fruit trees need skilled hands-on care including correct annual pruning, fertility management and pest and disease prevention. Join urban orchardist and award-winning author Susan Poizner in this fruit tree care workshop, where she will share 10 tried-and-true secrets to success in growing healthy, successful organic fruit trees. Susan is a passionate filmmaker, journalist, urban orchardist and fruit tree care educator. She is creator of the fruit tree care certificate training program at, author of the award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards and host of the monthly fruit tree care podcast The Urban Forestry Radio Show on 

Winter and Summer Fruit Tree Pruning (2-hour workshop) 
One important way we keep our fruit trees healthy and productive is by pruning them correctly every year – starting from the very day we plant our bare root fruit tree. In this workshop urban orchardist and fruit tree educator Susan Poizner will teach you how fruit tree pruning is different than pruning native or ornamentals trees. You will learn how to use pruning to improve your fruit tree’s health, to spur vigorous growth or to slow down the growth of a larger, overgrown fruit tree. She will teach the difference between winter and summer fruit tree pruning and how pruning can help combat the common fruit tree diseases. 

Preventing Pests and Disease in Fruit Trees (Can be done as a 1-hour talk or 2-hour workshop) 
Is your fruit tree young and healthy? That’s the perfect time to learn about how to prevent pests and disease from infecting your trees in the future. Or do you already have problems with insects nibbling on your tree’s leaves, goopy wounds on your tree, scarred or disfigured fruit or black swellings on the branches? In this talk urban orchardist and fruit tree care educator Susan Poizner will teach you how to identify and treat some of the most common pest and disease problems organically. This workshop covers the causes of pest and disease problems, identification of various common diseases, organic approaches to pest and disease control, and the basics of pruning out disease. 

Choosing a Fruit Tree (2.5-hour interactive workshop) 
Whether you are growing a single fruit tree in your yard, or a group of fruit trees in a community garden, your orchard’s future success can depend upon the trees you choose. If you select the right trees, you will have generous harvests for years to come. But if you choose the wrong trees you may spend years grappling with insect infestations and disease. In this fruit tree care workshop, fruit tree care educator and urban orchardist Susan Poizner will go through the basics of choosing a fruit tree, exploring pollination, timing the harvest, disease resistance and more in this interactive workshop. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a list of fruit trees that will thrive in their unique conditions.

Contact Orchard People To Speak at Your Event

Growing Urban Orchards by Susan Poizner

Learn how to care for fruit trees in the city and beyond in this award-winning fruit tree care book

Fruit trees are delicate and need specialized care, especially when they're planted in an urban environment, which comes with its own unique challenges. 

Whether you want to plant a single fruit tree or an entire orchard, this book will show you how to save time and money and be successful right from the start. Urban Orchardist and fruit tree care educator Susan Poizner guides novices and experts alike through every step of the process in her award-winning book (Winner of Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement 2014 Book: General Interest).

For those thinking of planting new fruit trees, Susan describes how to choose and prepare your site for planting. She offers a basic overview of the anatomy of fruit trees, and explains how to select trees that will thrive in your unique conditions. Susan also covers essential considerations including cross-pollinating versus self-pollinating trees, bare-root versus potted trees, and whether the fruit will be for eating, cooking, or canning. 

The book offers thorough and easy-to-absorb instructions for planting your tree and pruning it annually. She talks about how to care for both young and mature trees. From assessing soil, selecting the right fertilizer and pruning trees to choosing the proper tools, boosting biodiversity and preventing pests and diseases, Susan leaves no leaf unturned. 

This beautiful book includes illustrations and color photos, along with inspiring stories of orchards and tree farms across North America. 


Learn more


Since 2014, Orchard People has won several awards for our website, book and online course.
The Urban Forestry Radio Show & Podcast Silver Award of Achievement 2017 Podcast Series: Overall Silver Award of Achievement 2017 Website, Individual: Overall
Growing Urban Orchards Silver Award of Achievement 2014 Book Writing: General Readership Online Fruit Tree Care Training Silver Award of Achievement 2014 Online Fruit Tree Care Training Silver Award of Achievement 2015