Your Guide to Easy Fruit Tree Care

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Below are products recommended by Orchard People's Founder Susan Poizner. 

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Recommended Books For Your Library

These are the books that's Susan Poizner loves and keeps in her library and we think you will love them too. If you are a visual learner and want to learn more, check out Orchard People's online fruit tree care courses which are great for home growers, gardeners, arborists and new orchardists.

Growing Urban Orchards

Susan Poizner's award-winning fruit tree care book will tell you the story of her urban orchard and she teaches the reader how to avoid the mistakes many new growers make. This book is ideal for new growers, gardeners and community orchardists. It covers choosing a fruit tree, pruning, pest and disease prevention and more.   

What's wrong with My Fruit Garden?

What's Wrong with My Fruit Garden: 100% Organic Solutions for Berries, Fruit Trees, Nuts, Vines, and Tropicals is an excellent resource no matter what type of fruit you grow. The authors help you identify fruit tree pests and diseases so that you can learn how to deal with them. 

Growing Organic Orchard Fruits

Storey's Guide to Growing Organic Orchard Fruits for Market or Home Production is a wonderful resource for intermediate level orchardists. It includes information on site and crop selection, planting, care and harvesting as well as business basics,

The Holistic Orchard

The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way isn't necessarily an easy read but it is filled with wonderful suggestions that will help you delve deeper into holistic growing techniques. It's written by the inspirational organic grower Michael Phillips. 

Landscaping with Fruit

Landscaping with Fruit: Strawberry ground covers, blueberry hedges, grape arbors, and 39 other luscious fruits to make your yard an edible paradise is a classic and gives a great overview when it comes to planning an edible garden. This is a book to turn to for inspiration.

Apples of North America

Apples of North America: Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks is wonderful research guide if you're thinking of growing heirloom cultivars and it is filled with fascinating histories of America's heirloom apples. It's a wonderful gift for someone you know who loves growing apple trees. 

The New Book of Apples

The New Book of Apples: The Definitive Guide to Over 2,000 Varieties is the ultimate guide of apple cultivars. It's not cheap but it is a must have for any passionate apple tree grower. 

Grow a little Fruit tree

Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees is a sweet book and an easy read that will inspire you to keep your fruit trees compact. The author sees pruning as an ongoing "conversation" with your fruit tree...a concept that we at Orchard People love.

How Plants Work

How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do is not a fruit tree care book! But reading it is a life changing experience as you will begin to gain a deeper understanding of all our plants needs - so that we can help them to thrive. 

Recommended Pruning Tools

If a tool is on this list, it's a tool that's creator Susan Poizner has used and loves. Make sure with any hand pruner that you enjoy the way it feels in your hand. Buy quality tools and keep them sharp so that they don't damage your trees.  And if you don't know how to prune fruit trees (it's very different than pruning native or ornamental trees!) consider signing up for Orchard People's Fruit Tree Pruning Masterclass

Felco Hand Pruners

Felco F-2 068780 Classic Manual Hand Pruner, F 2 are excellent pruners that will last years. Felco has a fantastic line of hand pruners and they are all a bit more expensive, but always excellent quality. 

Corona Folding Handsaw

The Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw, 10 Inch Curved Blade, RS 7265D is easy to carry around in the orchard and it works beautifully on branches that are too thick for loppers.  

Corona Extendable Loppers

Corona SL 4364 DualLINK with ComfortGEL Grip Extendable Heavy Duty Bypass Limb and Branch Lopper will cut a branch up to 1-3/4” thick. Extendable loppers mean you don't need to get out your ladder for higher cuts. 

Corona AC8300 Sharpening Tool

Be sure that whichever pruning tools you choose can be maintained and sharpened, and sharpen your tools at least once a year. This small and inexpensive sharpener from Corona is excellent, inexpensive and easy to use. 

Fiskars Extendable Pruning Stik

Fiskars 7.9-12 Foot ExtendableTree Pruning Stik Pruner (92406935K) will make your life so much easier! It's light and easy to carry around and can easily clip off branches that are out of reach. We use this tool all the time and feel it is a great investment. 

Fiskars Bypass Lopper

If you want a pole pruner with a saw attachment, you can opt for the Fiskars Chain Drive Extendable Pole Saw & Pruner (7–16 Foot). It's a bit longer than the Pruning Stik and the saw blade is a bonus. It's a bit more awkward to carry around. It's a good option too though.  

Integrated Pest Management Products 

IPM involves much more than just chemical sprays. It's a environmentally friendly way to protect your trees from pests and diseases while minimizing and optimizing the use of sprays which you can learn about in our Integrated Pest Management for Fruit Trees online course. But sprays, like these organically accepted options, do also play a important role in keeping your trees healthy. Some of these chemical products are available in the US only.  

Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide

Liquid copper is an excellent way to combat the spread of bacterial diseases (like fire blight) in fruit trees. It also helps control fungal diseases. But too much copper dripping off of your tree can damage your soil. Use carefully as per the instructions!

Bonide Sulfur Plant Fungicide

You can control the spread of fungal diseases like rust and leaf spot with sulfur spray. Regular applications are necessary and as always, you must apply this exactly as specified in the instructions to ensure plant and human safety! 

Monterey Horticultural Oil

Horticultural oils like this one help prevent fruit tree pest problems and they are especially useful during the dormant season. During the dormant season these oils smother overwintering insects hidden in cracks in your tree's bark or branches so that there will be fewer pests to control during the growing season.   

Plantonix Neem Bliss

Neem is an all natural pesticide extracted from the tropical neem tree and it is very effective at killing pests -  but you need to be careful as it can also hurt beneficial insects. Apply only when needed and always as per package directions. 

Monterey BT Spray

Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is made up of soil-borne bacteria that kills insect pest larvae. The damage is done when the larvae feeds on a BT-coated leaf. The product then enters the body and paralyses the larvae's gut forcing them to stop feeding. Pest identification is important as you don't want to kill beneficials. 

Field King Pressure Sprayer

A pressure sprayer is the best way to apply most of the products that you will use on your fruit trees. A backpack sprayer is handy if you have a few trees as you don't need to refill it as often. 

Appscope phone Microscope 

Insect pests and beneficials can be hard to see but with the Appscope Quick Attach Microscope you can see any pest magnified up to 10 times. It's easy to attach to the camera of your smartphone. Always have this with you when scouting in your orchard. 

Hand Lens 

If you want to get really close to see tiny insects like scale, a good quality hand lens is important and Bausch & Lomb is one of the top brands. Cheaper lenses really will not work as well. A jeweller's loop like this can magnify the image up to 10 times. It's easy to keep in your pocket but also easy to lose so you might want to put it on a lanyard and hang it around your neck! 

Apple Maggot Traps

Apple maggots can be a very common pest in orchards and they can destroy the fruit as it is growing on your tree. These reusable apple maggot traps are great for catching the apple maggot flies and reducing pest numbers. Some professional orchards rely on these tools for both monitoring and pest reduction. 

Wireless Digital Microscope 

If you want to take wonderful closeups of pests, beneficials and other small creatures in your orchard, you can have fun with this handheld digital microscope that wirelessly links with your smartphone. It can magnify up to 1000 times! It's lightweight, easy to use, and has built in LED lights. It's great value.  

Yellow Sticky Cards 

Yellow sticky cards can be used to find out what insect pests you have in your orchard, or if combined with a lure, they can be used to target and reduce the numbers of an insect pest. When using these cards, be sure you know what you're doing! Find out more in our podcast and video on fruit tree traps. 

Sticky Thrips Leafminer Trap

If you are monitoring for thrips in order to know how extensive they are in your orchard or fruit trees, you'll need to opt for a blue trap as that is the colour that attracts thrips. Here's a kit to try.  Find out more about using traps and lures in this video and podcast. 

Tanglefoot Tree Care Kit 

Stop climbing insect pests from getting up into your tree with this tanglefoot tree care kit. This will stop ants from climbing up your tree to "farm" aphids so that they can enjoy feasting on aphid honeydew. This kit is also great for gypsy moths, caterpillars and cutworms. 

Earth Alive Soil Activator 

Add more beneficial organisms to your soil with Earth Alive Soil Activator. I'm excited to try this on my fruit trees for the first time in 2020. Read more about biofertilizers in this podcast and in this post.   

Coddling Moth Trap and Lure

Are you ready to try using traps and lures together so that you can specifically target a pest in your orchard. If you have problems with coddling moth, this coddling moth and Oriental fruit moth kit might be a nice place to start. Read the instructions carefully as to how to store and use the lures. Find out more about using traps and lures in this video and podcast. 

Flagging Tape

You're walking around your orchard and you see a diseased branch or a branch with some evidence of an insect infestation. You're not sure what to do yet. Take a picture, make a note, and tie some flagging tape around the branch so you can find it again once you've researched the problem and come up with a solution. Learn more in Orchard People's IPM for Fruit Trees Online Workshop. 

Screw-On Plastic Round Containers 

As you inspect your fruit trees you will find insects that you can't identify. You'll want to look closer to find out if it's a pest or a beneficial. In your IPM scouting kit, be sure to have tiny screw top plastic containers like this. Pop the bug inside so that you can inspect it and find out what it is. Some of these containers even have built in magnifiers (but your hand lens will be much better) Don't want to see the bug wiggling around? Pop the plastic container in the freezer and the bug will go dormant. Don't be surprised as some insects wake up again after they thaw out! 

Swiss Army Knife

When you're in your orchard or inspecting your fruit tree, you will often need to cut open infested fruit to see what is inside! After all, if you don't know what pests are in your orchard, you won't know how to control them. It's really handy to have a good Swiss army knife with you while you inspect your trees and this one is highly rated.