BF 223: Introduction to Tree Fruit Production

Planning and Managing Orchards

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Planning and Managing Orchards for Hobby and Business

Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. Planting and management of apple and other tree fruit orchards is a rewarding hobby and business, but you cannot simply plant trees and expect good fruit. There's a lot that goes into successful orcharding!

This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management. Content will include site selection and management, rootstock and cultivar selection, orchard systems, pest management, nutrient management, and harvest considerations for commercial orchards tailored to the northeast U.S.

Target Audience

All levels – The course is for beginning tree fruit growers, or experienced growers seeking a refresher on basic concepts in orchard management. The topics covered will be specific to orchard systems and may not be appropriate for all climatic zones.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, you will:

  • Understand of the basics of tree fruit production, harvesting, and marketing
  • Have information sources to develop an orchard planting and management plan


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in Teachable once you have registered and logged in.

Webinar Schedule

Live instruction for 2024 has concluded. You are welcome to enroll now to complete this course on a self-paced schedule and join our next live session in Winter 2025. All webinars are recorded and posted in your online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely and may return to participate in future live offerings of the course as well. Please join us!

Wow. This course blew me away with the sheer volume of information shared. Now I have so many more trusted information sources to reference, and a much better sense of how to proceed with my orchard.

— Miranda D., Student

Both instructors did a good job managing the webinars. They made an environment where questions were encouraged during and after the lecture. They stayed on the call until all questions were answered. They followed and added to the forum. And they were available and responsive to email questions. Top notch.

— Jim D., Student

Your Instructor

Mike Basedow + Janet van Zoeren
Mike Basedow + Janet van Zoeren

As a Tree Fruit Specialist for the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, Mike Basedow coordinates educational programming and conducts applied research for fruit growers across Eastern New York. In addition to co-teaching BF223, Mike's primary areas of interest include cultural orchard management and applied pest management. He also works closely with other Cornell faculty and extension staff to develop programming for hard cider producers. He is currently seeking a home on well-drained soils to eventually plant his hobby cider orchard.

Janet van Zoeren is a pest management specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Lake Ontario Fruit Program, specializing in “IPM” (integrated pest management) of insects, weeds and diseases. She covers all fruit crops in the counties bordering Lake Ontario, a region predominantly growing apples and other tree fruits. Janet has a M.S. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked with the Fruit Extension team and conducted research on biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug. Prior to returning for her master’s degree, Janet worked as a farm manager of a diversified organic farm, running a small-scale orchard, winter greens greenhouse, and poultry operation.

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructors get involved and begin hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!