Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program is hosting a webinar on modern peach and cherry training systems for the Northeast on March 16.

Penn State University professor Jim Schupp, Michigan State University professor Greg Lang and Cornell professor Terence Robinson will review modern strategies for growing peaches and cherries in the Northeast, where yields of stone fruits planted to traditional orchard systems have been lagging behind modern apple plantings. Talks will highlight active research on utilizing improved rootstocks and modern, narrow training systems to increase productivity and reduce labor costs in peach and cherry systems.

Schupp will discuss future directions for peach training systems. Peaches are a labor-intensive crop, but yields per acre lag those of other fruit crops. According to the webinar announcement, gains in orchard productivity and production efficiency are needed if peaches are to remain an important part of a fruit grower’s portfolio, and intensive peach systems warrant attention as growers search for more labor-efficient methods of growing fruit and for systems that can readily adapt to mechanization and automation. Schupp will provide an update on two recent studies to evaluate tree density and rootstocks in high-density peach systems.

Lang will cover the evolution of sweet cherry production systems. Sweet cherry canopy architectures and training systems for fresh-market production have evolved over the past two decades, accelerated by the advent of vigor-controlling and precocity-inducing rootstocks. Training systems are dynamic and continuously evolving, as every grower and orchard site is different, with inherent traits that lead to subtle modifications of initial ideas and training concepts that can significantly affect their ultimate degree of success. Lang said it is important for growers to understand their orchard vigor factors, target markets, the fundamental aspects of sweet cherry growth and fruiting, and how the techniques used in different training systems affect those fundamentals. 

Robinson will cover new rootstocks and training systems for peaches, cherries, plums and apricots in the Northeast. He will discuss improved rootstocks for peaches that can be combined with closer tree spacings to achieve greater productivity in Northeast orchards. On the cherry side, he will discuss new rootstocks and how they can be combined with closer spacings, and he will provide management recommendations to achieve early and sustained production.

The webinar registration fee is $20. For more information, visit:

by Matt Milkovich