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?

Fall Planting of Apples

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

November 20, 2013

 The weather is cooperating, the soil is on the semidry side, and harvest is almost finished in Western NY. This has some growers thinking about a head start on next spring's work.  In recent years, fall planting has become the norm for a few Western NY growers who have successfully planted in the fall for several consecutive years. These new orchards have shown a strong growth the first year compared to spring planted trees. Fall planted trees have also shown better blooming synchrony with older established orchards and thus are more likely to be protected for fireblight with streptomycin spray programs on the farm.  While new spring planted trees bloom later than established orchards when temperatures are warmer, they are at higher risk of blossom blight if left unprotected or with fewer streptomycin sprays.
Fall planting can also be a good strategy to avoid planting delays in the spring due to unpredictable rainy weather conditions and/or late snow cover. Sometimes a grower can lose 30 or 40 days just waiting for the soil to be dry out to the right moisture conditions when trying to plant early in the spring. Fall planting also allows early root establishment and maximum tree growth which are critical for a new high density planting the first year. But is fall the best time to plant, or are there any problems or concerns to consider?
Successful fall planting requires a combination of conditions: (1) a well-prepared site with good drainage, weeds under control and minimal rodent and deer populations, (2) mild weather and warm soil temperatures for several weeks after planting to encourage root establishment, (3) nursery trees that begin their dormancy process early, including leaf drop, (4) a nursery supplier that is willing to fall dig trees, (5) sufficient labor to plant trees quickly without drying, and (6) proper soil conditions to re-close the soil around the roots without leaving air pockets.  The soil should flow when plowed or disced to allow the soil to flow around the roots as the tree planter passes. This last point is probably the most critical.  There are some fall seasons in Western NY that are just too wet and proper soil conditions are never achieved after Oct 15.  It is a costly mistake to 'mud' tree in if the soil is too wet.  This can lead to tree dessication and death. In those years we recommend that the trees be left in the nursery or stored until the spring.
If you can satisfy the 6 conditions listed above, the following practical tips can help you have a successful fall planting:
1. Nursery trees need to experience cool temperatures and short daylengths to encourage dormancy. Frost will promote leaf fall, and some nurserymen use copper sprays to encourage leaf abscission. If the trees are moved before dormancy, they could begin to grow again, which could predispose them to winter injury.
2. Once the trees show signs of dormancy, they can be dug and moved. Total leaf removal is necessary only if trees will be in storage for some time, to prevent diseases. It is critical to prevent roots from drying out, especially since they may not be fully dormant.  Use covering tarps and wet down any roots that seem dry.
3. The roots and soil need to be in intimate contact immediately after planting to ensure the trees survive. Where a tree planter is used, the presser wheels need to be adjusted properly. Hand planted trees should be tramped well around the trunk. A follow-up watering is recommended if a soaking rain does not occur within a few days.
4. There is a risk of winter injury with fall planted apple trees, especially to the lower trunk and scaffold branches, because they are the last to harden off fully. Mounding up soil up to twenty inches around the trunk has an insulating effect against sudden freezes, and can be left to prevent insects from boring into the rootstock but it should be removed the next spring to prevent scion rooting.
If all these precautions are followed, fall planting of apple trees can help your new orchard get off to a quick start next spring.

more crops




Asian Pears

Asian Pears

















Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries



Unusual Fruit

Unusual Fruit

more crops

Upcoming Events

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Training & Food Safety Plan-Writing Workshop

February 2 - February 3, 2023
Newark, NY

Goals of this workshop:

  • Understand how GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) impact produce safety, and how you can improve practices on your farm to reduce the risk of microbial contamination
  • Learn the difference between a FSMA Inspection and a GAPs audit, and learn what is needed to have a USDA GAP/GHP audit and the 2 types (Basic & Harmonized)
  • Begin writing a farm food safety plan that complies with a USDA GAP/GHP Audit

This workshop is targeted at Mott's growers who need to have a successful GAP audit for the 2023 harvest. However, all farms and organizations are invited to attend.  

We will have several breaks, including a lunch break, scattered throughout the day, but feel free to step away whenever you need to. Lunch and snacks provided. Note: All times are approximate. Time spent on each topic varies depending on audience and questions/discussion. There will be time for questions at the end of each section and a final opportunity for questions when we close for the day.  

Instructors Confirmed: Craig Kahlke (CCE-LOF), Robert Hadad (CCE-CVP), Caroline Boutard-Hunt (CCE-Yates), Judy Wright (CCE-Seneca), and Representatives from NYS Dept. of Ag & Mkts.

view details

How Profitable Will My New Orchard Investment Be? 1-day, hands-on skills class

February 7, 2023
Highland, NY

The Eastern NY Commercial Hort Team and the Lake Ontario Fruit Team are offering a 1-day, hands-on course at 5 locations in NYS in January and February for tree fruit farms on using farm financial information and other resources to make decisions about long-term investments or changes to their business.  We will apply the techniques covered in the 8-part webinar series in December to scenarios using sample financial data from fruit farms in NYS.

view details

Apple Leafcurling Midge IPM - Webinar

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 16, 2023

In recent years, the apple leafcurling midge (ALCM) has become an increasingly problematic pest in many orchards across the northeast.

view details


Save the Date! - Scroll down for Upcoming Events

Have you missed a meeting recently? All recorded LOFP hosted webinars can be found on our YouTube Channel

NOW - please scroll down to find the link to the short NY Herbicide Resistance Survey!

Courses Available All Year - Cornell Small Farms Program New Season of Online Courses-Enroll Now!


26 Jan - Innovative new technology to implement PACMAN (Part 2) & How's your adoption going?- 12pm (Eastern) - online - registration required

16 Feb - Apple Leafcurling Midge IPM - Webinar - 1:30-2:30pm - Registration Now Open

27 & 28 Feb - WNY Winter Fruit Conference - Registration Now Open

14 Mar - USDA/RMA Listening Session - Spring 2023 Apple Grower Meeting -
The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is inviting interested parties to participate in a listening session to discuss the proposed changes to the apple crop insurance program. Free - Rochester

15 Mar - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Using biopesticides to help control fire blight - 7-8PM

13 Jun - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Pruning and sanitation strategies to reduce fire blight - 7-8PM

18 Oct - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Using weather and environmental conditions to optimize biologicals and biopesticides for bloom production - 7-8PM

Food Safety Virtual Office Hours

Cornell Institute of Food Safety "Virtual Office Hours", Tuesdays Noon to 1pm

Past recorded virtual office hours can be found on YouTube:

Webinar Recordings

Check out the recordings of some recent webinars:


Employment Opportunities

The CCE-LOF Program has created a space to share Lake Ontario Fruit Region local employment opportunities. See listings and details for sharing listings at|business

Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links

Meeting Recordings Now Available

Did you miss the recent meeting?  Check and see if we recorded it and added it to our website or Lake Ontario Fruit Program YouTube Channel.

Honeycrisp Meetup recordings available here.

Why are my trees growing so poorly? recording available here.

Additional Recorded Webinars listing with recording and resource link are available at|crops|apples|crop*38

New Publication on Growing Pawpaws

Are you a fan of pawpaws? These custardy fruits can be hard to come across, so this guide provides information on how to grow your own pawpaw from seed, and how to care for grafted seedlings. Pdf on growing now available.​|crops|unusual_fruit|crop*50

New Weed Management Technology Survey

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research. A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. Weed Technology Survey link:

For more information on this survey please visit

Pollinator Webinar Series - Summer 2020

The Pollinator Webinar Series presented by Penn State cover bee health and pollination services.

Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

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