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

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The Use of Feathered Nursery Trees combined with High Planting Densities

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

December 24, 2013

The use of feathered trees combined with high planting densities and minimal pruning has resulted in a significant improvement in yield of new orchards over the first 5 years. The larger the initial caliper of the tree at planting, the greater the growth and yield in the first 4-5 years. The greater the number of feathers at planting, the greater the yield especially in the second and third years. Feathered nursery trees are a critical component of most high-density apple planting systems including the Tall Spindle. As the benefits of highly feathered trees were discovered, it became necessary to develop nursery management techniques to stimulate lateral branch development. This desired product led to the development of the two-year branched tree, the two-year knip tree, leaf removal/pinching techniques, fertigation and the use of plant growth regulators such as Promalin, Maxcel, and Tiberon. As these practices and new products have been implemented by nurseries around the world, the quality (caliper, tree height, feather positioning along the trunk, crotch angles, number and length of feathers) of nursery trees has improved considerably over the last 20 years. The number of feathers on US grown nursery trees has also improved significantly in the last decade. Most nurseries used a single spray of Promalin combined with leaf removal to obtain trees with 3-5 feathers. In the spring of 2009 a new branching chemical, Tiberon, was registered, and was used commercially in the Northwest of the US. Its use significantly improved the quality of apple nursery trees. In 2010 we evaluated the use of Tiberon in NY and found that Tiberon sprays to Macoun trees under New York climatic conditions significantly reduced tree height and caliper, and resulted in poor tree architecture. Our results with multiple applications of Maxcel in 2010 and 2011 have been very promising. For the coming years, it appears that the potential use of Maxcel if applied multiple times (3-4 sprays of 500ppm) will help US nurserymen to continue producing highly feathered apple trees similar to the ones produced in the last 3 years with Tiberon (Fig. 5). In Europe, Italian nurserymen use Maxcel for chemical branching of knip-boom trees. Depending on cultivar, Italian nurserymen apply from 3 to 4 Maxcel treatments with spray intervals of 5-7 days depending on temperatures after application. A Maxcel spray works betterfor them when it is followed by a 3 hour period of at least 18°C (65°F). They prefer the use of Promalin to Maxcel only for branching of Red Delicious types. Maxcel has also been shown to be a useful tool if planting whips or poorly feathered trees in NY orchards when the leader is not headed and a Maxcel spray of 500ppm is applied to the leader from the tip down to 24 inches above the soil at 10-14 days after bud break (Miranda Sazo and Robinson, unpublished). The importance of having highly branched trees with good height and caliper is of such critical importance to the success of newly planted high density orchards that continued research of Maxcel rates and timings under different growing conditions (in the west and east in the United States) is very important. It will result in improved techniques for chemical branching of nursery apple trees. There is an opportunity for Maxcel to become a good tool for chemical branching in the US.

The Use of Plant Growth Regulators for Branching of Nursery Trees in NY State (pdf; 6098KB)

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Raspberries / Blackberries

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Unusual Fruit

Unusual Fruit

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.