Jul 24, 2017
Resources to follow up on after IFTA’s study tour

Growers, researchers and educators shared lots of information during the International Fruit Tree Association’s study tour July 16-18 in Michigan.

For those who left the tour wanting to know more, here’s some links for further reading from some of the researchers and educators:

Cherry training

On the last day of the tour, Michigan State University (MSU) research professor Gregory Lang presented on different systems for training cherry trees.

For some further reading, there’s a link to a 63-page book he’s written on cherry training here.

There’s also a Spanish Language version here.

YouTube videos of him demonstrating cherry-tree pruning techniques can be found here.

Lang is a researcher who’s covered lots of territory. An MSU page outlining his research pursuit can be found here.

Solid set canopy delivery system

Also on the last day of the tour, MSU professor Matthew Grieshop and professor emeritus James Flore demonstrated a solid set canopy delivery system at the MSU Clarksville Research Center, which Grieshop said had been built with off-the-shelf parts.

A page with additional information about the canopy delivery system can be found here.

Flore discussed a possible application of the system: cooling down the trees with a mist from the system in order to delay their bloom. A document discussing that technique can be found here.

Fruit tree pathogens

MSU research professor George W. Sundin showed his fruit tree pathology research.

A series of videos of him explaining various fruit tree pathogens may be found here.

Philip Schwallier

Extension educator Philip Schwallier wasn’t just an educator, bus guide and presenter, and an organizer of the IFTA tour, he was a host.

His farm, Schwallier’s Country Basket, was a bus stop on the tour, where apple trees are a part of some research trials. While talking about the trials on the IFTA tour, Swallier showed the remains of ashes between some of the trees, where he had once tried warming up the trees with small fires.

A ink to his apple frost guide for 2017, which discusses trying to warm up the trees with fires, can be found here.

Amy Irish-Brown

Extension educator Amy Irish Brown also was a bus guide and an organizer of the tour. She regularly writes updates on the situation for West Michigan fruit trees, found here.

Michigan fruit history tour

During the IFTA’s study tour, participants were also treated to bits of history about the various areas where fruit is grown.

This includes “The Ridge,” a plateau area in West Michigan where peaches were grown, although today apples dominate.

The Grand Rapids Historical Commission has written about the work that women did during those early years when the industry was being established, and that article can be found here.

Participants in the study tour were also told that Michigan was the birthplace of IFTA. A short book on the IFTA website that gives some of the history of the group’s formation through the 1990s can be found here.

One of the last activities of the IFTA tour was a group photo with a statue of Liberty Hyde Bailey, also known as the father of modern horticulture on the Michigan State University Campus.

A museum in Bailey’s hometown of South Haven, Michigan, has written a short biography of him, found here.

Photo, above: A group on the International Fruit Tree Association’s 2017 study tour listen to a presentation at Wittenbach Orchards near Belding, Michigan.

— Stephen Kloosterman, FGN Assistant Editor

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