Home orchard and vineyard help
I'm having problems with my home orchard (now about 20 trees of assorted apples, peaches, pears, Asian pears, cherries, and even a few nut trees. Finally starting to get some fruit after some of the trees are now nearly 10 years old, others not quite so old. This year, apple crop was horrible, not many apples and what did grow is a bug infested mess. I sprayed dormant oil in March, then 3 or 4 times during the summer with orchard spray. Clearly I don't know what I'm doing! Can you recommend some educational resource? I've watched some YouTube videos, read a few things but am clearly missing something. I think the raccoons got my peaches. Birds and bugs got my grapes. Tempted to chain-saw prune the whole thing! Any on-line courses for home orchardists in central Michigan?
Livingston County Michigan
I'm sorry you're having so many problems with your home orchard. Unfortunately, growing fruit is more difficult than some might expect!
There is a Fruit and Nuts section that you can check out. Grapes should be included with small fruit.
Some webinars that might be of interest are:
PUBLISHED ON JULY 12, 2017 Learn how to plan and manage your own mixed fruit orchard and be profitable.
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 11, 2016 Getting started with small fruit production
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 30, 2019 Getting started with pruning fruit trees
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 13, 2019 Getting started with pruning small fruits.
I have not watched these yet myself, so I’m not sure how focused on commercial production they are. But, I imagine there would be good info for commercial and hobby orchardists.
- New for 2019: Pruning and training backyard fruit trees
- New for 2019: Pollination in vegetable gardens and backyard fruit
- Considerations for growing backyard small fruit
- Considerations for growing backyard tree fruit
- Pruning and training backyard fruit trees
You can also check out the general MSU Extension Fruit and Nuts page and sign up for the newsletter to get local and timely information on fruit issues.
Timing and pest identification are very important parts of an integrated pest management approach. Here are some guides directed at both homeowners and commercial growers on pest management in fruit plantings. Some of them are only available for a fee.
Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide 2018 from Purdue (has the pdf online)
2019 Fruit Management Guide from MSU Extension
Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide from The Ohio State University
Controlling Diseases and Insects in Home Fruit Plantings from The Ohio State University
Managing Pests in Home Fruit Plantings from Purdue
You might also want to consider getting a pesticide applicator license from MDARD. https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125-1569_16988_35289---,00.html
I know that’s a lot. Hopefully some of it helps. Please let me know if you have further questions!