Lake Ontario Fruit Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Food Safety
  • Variety Evaluation
  • Market Development
  • Pest Management
  • Cultural Practices

Enrollment Benefits

  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • Fruit Newsletter?
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

Enrollee Login


Log In To Access:

  • Issues of Fruit Newletters
  • Helpful Diagnostic Tool:
      What's wrong with my crop?


Spring Meeting Resources

Last Modified: May 11, 2020
Spring Meeting Resources

Resources from the 2020 spring meetings in pdf.  The recorded webinar in video format will be linked here as they become available. 

2020 Pruning Video now Available

Last Modified: April 6, 2020

CCE prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of the communities we serve. Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and due to an abundance of caution, the Pruning Workshops at both locations on March 23rd and 25th were cancelled.  However, tall spindle pruning focused on Honeycrisp, and including basic principles that can be used in any tall spindle orchard content has been made available through video format on the Lake Ontario Fruit Program YouTube Channel.

2020 Lake Ontario Winter Fruit School

Last Modified: February 17, 2020

This all day event provided 2 near-identical programs available on the West and East sides of Rochester on consecutive days.  We are featured an intensive Precision Honeycrisp management school in addition to updates on Labor, Fruit Farm Business Summary, as well as pests and diseases, including European Cherry Fruit Fly.  Pdfs for most of the presentations are now available.

Reflective Ground Cover For Coloring Apples At Harvest: Could Yield Revenue

Mark Wiltberger, Business Management Specialist
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: June 20, 2019

Reflective ground cover has been used in fruit-growing regions for a number of years now. The Lake Ontario Fruit Team conducted a field trial in 2018 of reflective ground cover at two Wayne County farms. The infographic contains information about reflective groundcovers including the quality and economic benefits found in the study and additional information on types of groundcovers and suppliers.

2019 Cornell Fruit In-Depth School Presentations Now Available!

Last Modified: April 23, 2019

The presentations that appeared at the 2019 In-Depth School focusing on precision crop load management and plant growth regulator use in apples are now available to review any time.  Articles related to the topic have also been included in the pdfs below.

Tree Fruit Nutrition Training with John Kempf

Last Modified: March 13, 2019
Tree Fruit Nutrition Training with John Kempf

John Kempf has outlined the science behind a strategically applied nutrition-based system in pome fruit production, mainly in Oregon and Washington orchards, and more recently in the Northeast. Using field observations, John has provided an interpretive framework with which to decipher the nutritional requirements of trees, targeting nutrient type and developmental phase of the crop. At the recent 2019 CCE LOF Winter Fruit Schools, John gave insights into the movement of minerals within the tree and how this applies to the remediation of issues apple growers face such as fire blight, bitter rot, and bitter pit.

Empire State Producers EXPO proceeding link

Last Modified: March 5, 2019

Links to proceedings and resources listed in presentations from the EXPO can be found here.

New Video - An integrated view of the physiology of apple water relations

Last Modified: November 20, 2018

Alan Lakso discusses the water relation of apples in a recent seminar given at Cornell.  For video link click view details.

New CCE LOF Videos

Last Modified: October 18, 2018

Watch and see how NYS apples are harvested & check out the new hail netting project.

2018 Lake Ontario Winter Fruit Schools

Last Modified: February 16, 2018

Presentations from the 2018 Lake Ontario Winter Fruit Schools. 

Soil Health Researchers Launch Farmer Survey in New York State

Last Modified: February 8, 2018

Study Will Analyze Economic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops and Other Farm Practices
[Ithaca, NY] A state-wide survey of New York farmers is underway, with the aim of highlighting economic costs and benefits associated with maintaining and improving agricultural soil health. The survey, which will examine the agricultural practices of using cover crops and reduced tillage, is being conducted by the New York State Soil Health Workgroup and funded by NYS department of Ag and Markets.
The New York State Soil Health Workgroup is a network of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers working to keep the state's agricultural soils healthy and productive in the future. As part of these efforts, the group has recently launched a survey to explore farm practices that impact soil health, productivity, and farm profits. The survey is currently underway and will run until March 10th, 2018. The survey questionnaire can be completed by New York State farmers through an online link at A paper form of the questionnaire is also available at the Soil Health Group's website ( which can be printed and returned to the researchers by mail.
"Soil health offers a lot of win-win solutions" said David Wolfe, a professor who studies soil and water management at Cornell University. Our efforts to improve soil health are "directly affecting farmers and healthy food for all of us, but also all kinds of environmental issues: erosion, water quality, food security and climate change challenges. They're all part of this". New York State contains over 7 million acres of active farmland that are used to produce a wide variety of agricultural crops including apples, grapes, vegetables, corn, and soybeans. While agricultural soils are crucial to the state's farms, they also provide other benefits to society such as protection of water resources and reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). However, these soils suffer from compaction and loss of organic matter, and generally the health of these soils has degraded over time as a result of intensive use.
The New York State Soil Health Workgroup is looking for ways to improve and promote on-farm practices such as cover crops that bolster soil health. One of the group's principal investigators is Matt Ryan, who conducts research on sustainable cropping systems. "Cover crops can do a number of different things, provide a number of benefits. They can protect soil from erosion, they can suppress pests, but they're also one of the best tools that we have for building and increasing soil health", Ryan stated. The practice of using cover crops to protect bare soil and build organic matter could be greatly expanded in New York state, and the survey is one way that the researchers are working to get a better handle on how cover crops are being used, what impact they have on farm profitability, and why some farmers have yet to adopt the practice. "We're looking at different ways to overcome this barrier to adoption" Ryan added.
The researchers urge farmers to participate in the study by completing the 10-minute questionnaire via the online link at before March 10th, 2018. A paper form of the questionnaire can be downloaded and printed, and more information about soil health and the Workgroup is available at their website; Questions about the New York State Soil Health Workgroup's research can be directed to Cedric Mason at (607) 255-8641 or

Spray Mixing Instructions Considering Tree Row Volume - TRV

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: May 16, 2017

Spray Mixing Instructions Considering Tree Row Volume - TRV
Terence Robinson, Poliana Francescatto, Cornell University
Win Cowgill, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

Mechanical blossom thinning video.

Last Modified: May 15, 2017

Mechanical blossom thinning video and story. Click on details for links.

Precision Chemical Thinning in 2017 for Gala and Honeycrisp

Last Modified: May 4, 2017

Precision Chemical Thinning in 2017 for Gala and Honeycrisp
Poliana Francescatto, Craig Kahlke, Mario Miranda Sazo, Terence Robinson

As a new season is approaching it is time to set up your precision thinning program. Precision thinning is a strategy to increase the efficacy of chemical thinning.

A Practical "Visual Guide" for March Pruning of Young High Density Plantings

Last Modified: March 24, 2017

A Practical "Visual Guide" for March Pruning of Young and Semi-Young High Density Apple Plantings
Mario Miranda Sazo

The document is a practical and colorful visual guide that shows some important pruning cuts to better grow and train the "money makers" Gala, Honeycrisp, and Fuji trees.
Spanish translated version now available
Please click on details form more information and the guide pdf.

Platform Payback Tool

Last Modified: March 2, 2017

This financial tool will assist growers in determining the annual savings by investing in a platform for pruning, hand thinning and harvest. Platforms eliminate the use of ladders and create a consistent work flow that improves labor productivity for labor intensive tasks in orchard systems.

DEC Registered Pesticides for New York

Last Modified: January 30, 2017

This the the link to access the the NYDEC pesticide registrations.  Access labels here.  

Bureau of Pest Management - Information Portal -

What Herbicides control which weeds ?

Deborah Breth, Integrated Pest Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: March 29, 2016

This guide is used to identify the most effective herbicides to target specific weeds in tree fruit.  First identify the weed, or weeds, then find those weeds across the top of the spreadsheet.  For each weed, make a list of herbicides that are effective on the label.  Then you will need to double check the label to determine 1) if the tree fruit crop is labeled, 2) if the tree age is appropriate for use,3) what rate is needed for specific weeds and any soil limitations that might impact those rates.  You can go to the Bureau of Pest Management - Information Portal to find the labels to determine specific application requirements including the rates, timing, any adjuvants necessary, and any precautions to ensure crop safety. 

2016 Lake Ontario Winter Fruit School

Last Modified: February 9, 2016

Presentations from the 2016 Lake Ontario Fruit Program Winter Fruit School.

Black Stem Borer Trap Data

Last Modified: January 22, 2016

Black stem borer traps are set all over the state of NY.  See trap data here.

Revisions in EPA WPS comment period open until Dec. 23, 2015

Deborah Breth, Integrated Pest Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: November 13, 2015

EPA is finalizing changes to the WPS. The WPS is a regulation primarily intended to reduce the risks of injury or illness resulting from agricultural workers' and handlers' use and contact with pesticides on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The rule primarily seeks to protect workers (those who perform hand-labor tasks in pesticide-treated crops, such as harvesting, thinning, pruning) and handlers (those who mix, load and apply pesticides). The rule does not cover persons working with livestock. The existing regulation has provisions requiring employers to provide workers and handlers with pesticide safety training, posting and notification of treated areas, and information on entry restrictions, as well as PPE for workers who enter treated areas after pesticide application to perform crop-related tasks and handlers who mix, load, and apply pesticides. The full content if you want to review and comment can be found at!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0184-2510.
A summary chart of major cahnges between the new revisions and the current standard can be found here.

Apple IPM for Beginners

Deborah Breth, Integrated Pest Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: September 17, 2015
Apple IPM for Beginners

Pest management can be a complex system in perennial crops such as apples and other tree fruits.  "Apple IPM (Integrated Pest managment) for Beginners" is an excellent guide for new growers who want to grow apples, or want to be more familiar with managing pests in apple plantings.  Even growers who have been farming all their lives may know someone coming into the business that can learn from this guide and improve the quality of apples produced.  This 42-page guide will help new apple growers protect apple orchards from pests, in fact sheet format. This series of fact sheets is available in printed color format (see order form below), or in .pdfs  It will help you address the major apple pests, but does not guarantee perfect fruit. These fact sheets and scouting guides are a compromise between the most accurate, complex information researchers have to offer and the amount of information a beginner can take in. Read the first four chapters carefully to start this new venture. Then follow the Scouting Calendar as apple stage of growth advances week-by-week. "Apple IPM for Beginners" was partially funded by Federal Smith Lever Funds. Additional full color printed copies can be ordered from CCE-Lake Ontario Fruit Program.

NYS Crop Survey Report

Matthew Wells, Production Economics & Business Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: August 14, 2015

The results of the first state-wide electronic apple crop survey are now available. Click this link to download the report in PDF format.

Labor Cost Calculator for Platform Activities

Matthew Wells, Production Economics & Business Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: August 4, 2015

Download this spreadsheet to help calculate acres covered per day and labor cost per acre utilizing platforms.

Precision Crop Load Management 2015 - Information and Tools for the Job

Last Modified: May 8, 2015

The CCE LOF team has just launched three shorts videos explaining the benefits of Precision Crop Load Management.

Apple IPM

Anna Wallis, Tree Fruit and Grape Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: April 24, 2015

How can you use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to control pests in your orchard?  These presentations provide a broad overview of IPM Theory, orchard insect and disease pests, and resources available to guide your decision making, such as the NEWA weather system.  

These PPT presentations were given at the Apple IPM Training sessions on April 21 & 22, 2015.  

Pruning Labor Cost Calculator

Last Modified: April 3, 2015

A simple spreadsheet tool to calculate pruning labor cost per acre.

2015 Winter Fruit School

Last Modified: February 25, 2015
2015 Winter Fruit School

Presentations from the 2015 Lake Ontario Fruit Program Winter Fruit School.

Presentations - 2015 Winter Tree Fruit Schools

Last Modified: February 16, 2015

Presentations given at the 2015 Commercial Tree Fruit Schools in Lake George (LG) and Kingston in the Hudson Valley (HV) are available by clicking on the following links.  

The Benefits of Orchard Mechanization for the Tall Spindle Orchard System

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: December 24, 2013

NY apple growers are rapidly adopting the Tall Spindle planting system which has higher yields than traditional systems and is allowing them to adopt motorized labor positioning platforms to reduce pruning, hand thinning and summer pruning costs. In the future pruning costs may be reduced even further with mechanized summer side-wall shearing. To take full advantage of these advances in mechanization, new orchards should be established at a spacing of 2.5-3ft x 11-12 ft.

Choosing the Right Rootstocks for SnapDragon and RubyFrost

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: December 23, 2013

SnapDragon is a very precocious and weak growing scion similar to and often weaker than its Honeycrisp parent. SnapDragon's ability to set a heavy crop load in years two and three coupled with its low vigor can challenge your need to fill the tree spacing while producing marketable fruit. SnapDragon blooms slightly ahead of Honeycrisp, ahead of RubyFrost and overlapping with Empire.

Two New Cornell Apple Varieties

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: December 23, 2013

Cornell recently announced the release of two new apple varieties developed in partnership with the New York Apple Growers (NYAG). They are SnapDragon and RubyFrost, and they were developed by Cornell breeder Susan Brown.

Crop Load Management

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: November 20, 2013

Crop load management is the single most important yet difficult management strategy that determines the annual profitability of apple orchards. The number of fruit that remain on a tree directly affects yield, fruit size and the quality of fruit that are harvested, which largely determine crop value. If thinning is inadequate and too many fruits remain on the tree, fruit size will be small, fruit quality will be poor and flower bud initiation for the following year’s crop may be either reduced or eliminated. Consequently, poor or inadequate thinning will reduce profitability in the current year and result in inadequate return bloom in the following year. Over thinning also carries economic perils since yield and crop value the year of application will be reduced and fruit size will be excessively large with reduced fruit quality due to reduced flesh firmness, reduced color and a much-reduced postharvest life. Thus, management of crop load is a balancing act between reducing crop load (yield) sufficiently to achieve optimum fruit size and adequate return bloom without reducing yield excessively.

How to get your tree nutrition right in the 2013 season?

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Last Modified: November 20, 2013

Work on apple tree nutrition has shown that (1) fruit harvest removes significant amounts of potassium from the orchard every year, (2) sandy or gravel soils have low potassium supply power, (3) NY soils generally have low potassium levels, and (4) low organic matter leads to low potassium supply.

more crops




Asian Pears

Asian Pears

















Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries



Unusual Fruit

Unusual Fruit

more crops

Upcoming Events

Lunchtime Q & A Session, Tuesday, June 9: Managing Field Crews during COVID-19: What Actions Should Apple Growers Take?

June 9, 2020

As New York "Reopens" business during the COVID-19 crisis, business owners are evaluating what actions they need to take to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers. Join a panel of experts for a Question and Answer lunchtime session on June 9th, 2020 at noon that will address common questions that apple growers and other producers have about managing their field crew.

view details


Save the Date! - Scroll down for Weekly Webinars

2020 Events - for details and registration info click on the event title of interest:

CCE prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of the communities we serve. Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and due to an abundance of caution certain events will be cancelled. Please check back through out the week for any additional event cancellations.

9 Jun - Q & A Session: Managing Field Crews during COVID-19: What Actions Should Apple Growers Take? Tuesday, June 9, 12-1 PM - Register for this Zoom Webinar Now

Spring Meetings Recordings & Slides Available

Meeting pdf & recorded webinar resources including the "10-13mm Thinning Spray Recommends" are now available at|crops|apples|crop*38.

Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

A reference table created by Janet van Zoeren and Anna Wallis, is now available at|pests.

Weekly Webinars

Weekly webinar and/or virtual office hours, due to changing webinar links blogs are linked below for most accurate times and additional webinars please check the following links a few days before the suggested weekly days described below so you don't miss anything.

Weekly Berry Office Hours held on Thursdays at 12:30pm via Zoom or on your phone. Format will be a short, in-depth presentation about a production issue and then Q&A. Join each week, or view recordings that will be posted. 

Morning Brew: Tree Fruit Pest Management Conversations via Zoom held on Mondays at 6am - 7am. Hudson Valley Research Laboratory entomologist, Peter Jentsch, friends and guests invite you to join in discussions on Tree Fruit Pest Management through the season. Important…The meeting link may change every week as needed. Link on the most updated weekly email blog invitation.

Food Industry Office Hours to Answer COVID-19 Questions via Zoom held on Thursdays at 4pm - The Extension Team within the Department of Food Science at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and Cornell AgriTech (Geneva, NY) are hosting a weekly Q&A and facilitated discussions during their online Food Industry Virtual Office Hours.  You may submit questions when you register, email them in advance to, or ask them live during the session.

Cornell Hard Cider PWT Virtual Office Hours: Cider Apple Production via Zoom Thursdays from 4-5pm - Please join Cornell's Hard Cider Program Work Team for a question and answer session on any topic related to hard cider production that you want to discuss.

COVID-19 Update from LOF Team & Link to Resources

Cornell Cooperative Extension's Lake Ontario Fruit Program prioritizes the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, constituents, and community members. Given the uncertainty surrounding the rapidly-changing COVID-19 situation, many of our upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed through May.  This includes on-site farm visits and consultations. Our specialists are working from home and will still be available to help you via phone, zoom or email and we will resume our regular programming as soon as we can. Check announcements and Upcoming Events for updated information and upcoming virtual events.  We look forward to helping you manage your farm business during this time and hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy!  

COVID-19 Resources provides links to all COVID-19 information.

H-2A Related Updates

Visas and Travel from Major H-2A Source Countries Jamaica has stopped processing visas until April. One embassy employee tested positive for COVID-19 and is now Read more…
by Richard Stup on March 18, 2020 

Arriving H-2A Workers: Reconciling Isolation and Essential Status
Much confusion exists about the availability for work of H-2A workers who are newly arriving from a foreign country. This post will attempt to clarify Read more…

"How to" Zoom: YouTube Video Link Available

To ensure the health and safety of everyone we are practicing social distancing.  Specialists are still available for consult via phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings. Zoom  allows for a face to face meeting via a computer/smartphone and includes the option for screen sharing.  For anyone new to this technology Cornell has created a basic YouTube video on How to use Zoom.  

Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links

Article: "Supplemental Coverage Option for Apples"

Supplemental Coverage Option for Apples - Should you add this endorsement to your apple crop insurance policy?

Elizabeth Higgins, Ag Business Management Specialist, ENYCH

For the full article click the link below.