UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The completion of apple harvest brings the opportunity to begin planning new orchards with exciting new cultivars and rootstocks. Penn State Extension now offers two online courses on best practices for planning and establishing orchards.
The self-paced courses provide the latest recommendations on site planning and preparation, cultivars, rootstocks and training systems. Although designed for new producers, orchard managers and young growers returning to the family farm, the courses also have step-by-step suggestions useful to more experienced growers.
The first course, “Orchard Management — Site Planning and Preparation,” addresses orchard site and climatic considerations along with site preparation practices to obtain early tree growth and yield. Basic horticultural principles are discussed for individuals who desire more training but have limited time. Online learners will develop an orchard map using sound horticultural principles and determine a site-specific approach to the preparation of a new orchard planting.
The second course, “Orchard Management — Cultivars, Rootstocks and Orchard Training Systems,” has a series of videos and exercises on the selection of cultivars, rootstocks and training systems for apples, peaches, pears, plums, sweet cherries and tart cherries. Course registration includes access to image galleries of cultivars and rootstocks. There also are whiteboard animations on training various fruit types to higher density, profitable production systems.
The courses are designed to stand alone or to be bundled for a discount. For more information and to register, visit https://extension.psu.edu/orchard-management-pr. or contact Tara Baugher at email@example.com.
–Tara Baugher, Penn State University