In Person Fruit Tree Care Workshops

If you’re interested in having Susan Poizner from teach fruit tree care workshops in person for your organization or non-profit, there are a number of options. Susan offers hour-long talks, 2.5 hour hands-on sessions, and her 9-part certificate program in Beginner Fruit Tree Care which consists of 18 hours of training including both theory and hands-on. Workshops can be run individually or as part of a series. Prices are available upon request. More about it below. Susan also teaches fruit tree care workshops online at

Teaching a fruit tree care workshop in Toronto

Teaching a fruit tree care workshop in San Romanoway in Toronto’s Jane Finch community in 2016. Photo credit: TRCA.

Hour-long in-person or live webinar presentations

Choosing a Fruit Tree
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, Susan Poizner, author of “Growing Urban Orchards: The Ups, Downs and How-Tos of Fruit Tree Care in the City” will go through the basics of choosing a fruit tree, exploring pollination, timing the harvest, disease resistance and more. (Available in-person or via webinar)

How to Start a Community Orchard
More and more people are interested in planting orchards in parks, schoolyards, or outside community centres or businesses. What are the steps you need to go through to make this happen? Susan Poizner, one of the founders of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard, goes through the process of identifying a site, working with private landowners or the City of Toronto to get permission to plant the orchard, creating an orchard plan, finding funding and bringing your project to life. (Available in-person or via webinar)

Susan Poizner teaching Master Gardeners in Ottawa, Ontario

Growing Healthy Organic Fruit Trees: 10 Secrets to Success

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 Susan Poizner in this fruit tree care workshop or webinar, 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

Ten Ways to Protect Your Fruit Tree From Pests and Disease
Susan Poizner, Founder of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in Toronto and author of “Growing Urban Orchards: The Ups, Downs and How-Tos of Fruit Tree Care in the City” explores 10 easy and organic ways that you can protect your trees from pests and disease. If participants submit pictures of their pest and disease problems they will be discussed in the workshop. (Available in-person or via webinar)

Mohawk college staff and volunteers learn fruit tree pruning with Susan Poizner (centre front) in the campus orchard.

Mohawk college staff and volunteers learn fruit tree pruning with Susan Poizner (centre front) in the campus orchard.

Hands-on workshops

Introduction to Fruit Tree Care
1.5 hours including outdoor pruning demonstration on a nearby tree

Many people think that growing fruit trees is easy: you plant them, water them, and then you will have wonderful harvests. Sadly, that’s not true. Fruit trees are delicate and need hands on care. In this workshop you will learn the basics of fruit tree care including correct irrigation, fertility management, basic pest and disease control, basic pruning and thinning the fruit.

Winter Pruning (March or April)
2.5 hours including outdoor demonstration and hands-on pruning practice for participants
A key part of fruit tree care is winter pruning. At this time your tree is dormant. It has no leaves, blossoms or fruit. Winter pruning, done annually, helps you improve tree health, spur healthy growth and helps your tree develop a structure that will support a harvest. In this fruit tree care workshop you will learn why we prune, the difference between winter and summer pruning, pruning tools and techniques and how to structure your tree.

Preventing Pests and Disease in Fruit Trees
1 to 2.5 hours – Can be done as a talk alone, or can also include exploration of pests and disease on nearby trees
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? This talk will teach you 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, basics of pruning out disease.

Planting and Early Years Care
2 hour workshop in spring – April or May

Have you ordered your quality fruit tree from a specialist nursery? They will send it to you bare-root rather than in a pot. In this workshop you will learn how to  plant a bare root tree correctly. You will also learn correct mulching and water-management skills, and the basics of young tree care. This is a great fruit tree care workshop to hold when planting a community or school orchard.

Fruit Trees and Soil: Adding nitrogen annually, interpreting a soil test and amending with organic products (Spring or Fall)
2 hours with indoor and outdoor components
Adding compost and mulch around the base of your fruit tree annually is great. But it’s not enough to sustain your tree in the long term. Fruit trees are very delicate and when nutritionally deprived, they are more vulnerable to pest and disease problems. In this workshop you will learn how to evaluate how much added nitrogen your fruit tree needs each year. You will also learn how to take a soil sample, how to read the results of a laboratory soil test and what products you can use to amend your soil safely.

Summer Pruning (Late Summer/Early Autumn)
1.5 hours with indoors and outdoor components

Summer pruning helps you to control undesirable branch growth and create the ideal tree limb structure. It can also help with pest control. In this outdoor, hands-on fruit tree care workshop we will teach you these skills.

Susan Poizner and a graduate of her fruit tree care workshop series at San Romanoway in Toronto.

Charity Fedjilawn was one of the 14 graduates of Orchard People’s Certificate in Beginner Fruit Tree Care at San Romanoway in Toronto in 2014. The series consists of 9 classes and 18-hours of training including both theory and hands-on practice.


Since 2013, Susan has trained over 1000 new new growers including arborists, master gardeners, and even gardening novices in her fruit tree care workshops, online courses and webinars, and through presentations at conferences. Read what people have to say about Susan’s work below.

“Susan’s workshop was a perfect blend of lecture and practical application, and has me looking at my fruit trees in a totally different way.  I’d never been afraid to prune “ruthlessly”, but never knew how to combine that ruthlessness with effectiveness!  When people talk about pruning back 30% of the tree, it can seem daunting, but when that is combined with precision and planning, the fear subsides, and the excitement grows over what your tree will become.  I highly recommend Susan’s workshop, both for the content, as well as Susan’s wonderful storytelling, which makes for an engaging lecture.”

Brian Sulley

Air quality specialist, Toronto, Ontario

“Susan I just wanted to say what a great presentation you did for our workshop in Roanoke VA.  Your discussion of the benefits and trials and success of community fruit tree growing was just what we needed. I think it definitely opened the eyes of the audience to the possibilities of growing community fruit and nut trees but also to the need for good planning and research into the best species and cultivars for each location.  Thank you for your presentation and I hope to see you soon, here in VA again.”

Barbara White

Urban Forestry Coordinator, Virginia Department of Forestry

“As part of SNAP’s neighbourhood-wide urban agriculture strategy, we wanted to support San Romanoway residents at Jane and Finch in developing an orchard. We approached Susan in search for technical advice but she gave us so much more than that. She helped create a vision that would not only include the planting of the orchard, but also formal skills training for residents on fruit tree care so residents can both care for their own trees and offer their services on fruit tree care at the neighbourhood homes as part of a social enterprise. 

“Susan helped us through the entire process, from identifying the best possible location for the orchard, to adapting the curriculum to the neighbourhood demographics and needs. As a result, this beautiful vision became a reality in 2015. With Susan’s help, San Romanoway now has a beautiful orchard with diverse and healthy fruit trees planted by residents. We have had 24 graduates so far. Susan doesn’t only have great technical knowledge but amazing social skills. Her ability to teach, communicate and bond with residents from all walks of life is impressive. Her fruit tree care certification program is effective and her students love her and respect her.

“SNAP (Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan) is a program from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to achieve Sustainable transformation of older neighbourhoods. SNAP works on achieving multiple social and environmental objectives in both public and private land.”

Adriana Gomez, P.eng, MCIP

Senior Project Manager, Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

“Often, when attending a conference that features concurrent sessions, you have to select which speaker you are going to commit to. It’s never an easy choice given the high caliber of speakers at our annual 3-day International Society of Arboriculture (Ontario) conference. That being said, I was very glad that this year I attended Susan Poizner’s back-to-back sessions  “Fruit Tree Pruning for Arborists” and “Preventing Pests and Diseases in Fruit Trees for Arborists”.  The well prepared content and enthusiastic delivery hit the mark for me!

“Susan delivered clear and concise information to a full room of captivated and fully engaged Arborists.  She drilled down to best practices and was able to convey and demonstrate various techniques and scenarios right from the podium.

“Given the enthusiastic feedback and  the exchanges during the Q and A session, it’s evident that many of the arborists intend to apply the techniques at the first opportunity.  The Educational Committee of ISA Ontario  recognized the value of Susan’s work by assigning “Continuing Educational Units”  to each of her presentations affording Certified Arborists to maintain their Certified Status.

“Susan’s in-depth knowledge of Orchard maintenance has certainly given me a broader scope of understanding of the critical areas of this specialized field. I look forward to more of her presentations in the future.”

Warren Hoselton, ISA Certified Arborist ON-0299

Parks Supervisor – Toronto Island, City of Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation

“We were unsure about how to prepare our fruit trees for winter. Because they were planted in large containers they were a special case and we ended up with a very creative solution to keeping the roots protected. We have a number of different volunteer and staff that take care of the fruit trees and gardens at Evergreen. We wanted to ensure that everyone had the skills to keep our fruit trees healthy moving forward. We’ve worked with Susan Poizner of Orchard People in the past and she’s always a first choice for our fruit tree workshops.Susan had the answer to any question about fruit trees that we could think up! Susan’s solutions to the problems in our urban orchard were creative and accommodating to our special circumstances. I would recommend Susan’s workshops to anyone. Susan is a very dynamic and professional facilitator who has the knowledge and personality to lead any group.” Skye Vandenberg

Urban Agriculture Program Assistant, Evergreen Brick Works

“In 2013, Tree Canada contracted with Susan Poizner to deliver three educational webinars (or e-learning workshops) as part of our Edible Trees program. A total of 20 grant recipients and their team members were offered the opportunity to perfect their abilities to plant, care and maintain fruit trees. Susan Poizner is a true professional whose work and messages are original and top notch. She is detail-driven and ensures that the product she delivers is easily-understood and received. She is clearly dedicated to the cause of having more fruit trees in our lives and fulfilled a real educational need in helping Tree Canada ensure that community groups understand the complexities of fruit tree management.” Cédric Bertrand

Project Manager, Tree Canada

“Susan’s expertise in fruit tree growth and care is clearly evident.  The high quality of information sharing – leaving behind resources and commitment to follow up was excellent.  I loved the theoretical followed up by the hands on work of pruning trees.  The practical experience and Susan’s clear and expert guidance allowed for a fun, informed session on fruit tree pruning.  I am looking forward to more!” Angela ElzingaCheng

Senior Manager of Urban Ag, Community Food Animation and Evaluations, Foodshare

“Wanted to say thanks for your awesome job teaching on Saturday. We had a great group and I am confident that everyone left with more knowledge and the required confidence for proper fruit tree care.” Alan Griffiths

Manager, Sustainability Office, Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario

“Thanks again for such a wonderful workshop on Sunday! It was empowering and affirming…I definitely feel confident that i can care for our farm’s trees now. Thank you!!!!” Risa Alyson Cooper

Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs

About Susan Poizner

Susan Poizner

Susan Poizner

Director, Fruit Tree Care Education Online

Susan Poizner is a filmmaker, journalist, urban orchardist and the author of the award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards who learned how to grow fruit trees the hard way – by making mistakes! Now, after years of experimenting and learning from experts from across North America, Susan works as a fruit tree care trainer and consultant working with community groups in Toronto and beyond to plant and maintain urban orchards. Susan also teaches a certificate in beginner fruit tree care online at and her students include arborists, horticultural technicians, master gardeners, community orchardists and home growers from across North America. She is also the host of the monthly fruit tree care radio show and podcast called The Urban Forestry Radio Show on