HORT*4420 Fruit Crops

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2019 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

Growth patterns, fruiting characteristics and adaptation to  environmental conditions of fruit crops in temperate regions. Classification, cultural practices including propagation and the physiological principles underlying these practices will be emphasized.

Pre-Requisite(s): 1 of AGR*2050, AGR*2470, BOT*2100


Teaching Assistant:

Derek Plotkowski

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

1.    Literacy

  • Understand commercial production of temperate berry crops, grapes and tree fruits
  • Have a general understanding of fundamental growth processes and how these are manipulated through cultural practices to optimize commercial production 
  • Appreciate the unique horticultural aspects (cultivars, pruning, fertility, crop load) of managing cane, bush, vine and tree fruit crops.
  • Understand concepts on how to improve fruit quality through canopy management, orchard and vineyard design, and modern pruning and training systems.
  • Understand the general physiology of perennial fruit species and understand how and why cultural practices are designed and function in temperate climates
  • Have a basic understanding of marketing principles of fruit crops in Eastern Canada
  • Have a working knowledge of the anatomy and identification of small fruit and tree fruit species
  • Understand the quality characteristics of small fruit and tree fruit speciesUnderstand the primary components of a modern orchard systemsLiteracy

2.       Communications

  • Communicate scientific information in poster format which includes written and graphic formats

Lecture Content:

A detailed course schedule is available on the CourseLink.

Course material will be presented in a lecture-laboratory format and in modules where students will work independently. Crop production and physiology will be discussed from a discipline viewpoint with opportunities for discussions about specific species. Topics that will be discussed will include choice of location and site, low temperature injury, cultivars, rootstocks, propagation, pollination, soil management, growth regulators, pest control and management, fruit maturity and harvesting, pruning and orchard systems. Sustainability of production practices will be highlighted where appropriate.

Topics to be covered in lectures include:
  • Introduction to berry crop species, organic mulches, choice of site and location
  • Strawberry, production, growth and development, response to environmental factors, life cycle and management practices, planting and production systems
  • Introduction to grape as a trellised species, site and location, anatomy of a grapevine, annual growth and  pruning cycles, factors contributing to wine quality, light interception, trellising methods
  • Rubus physiology, growth habit, response to environmental factors, fruit development, annual life cycle, yield component analysis, resource allocation within the plant, optimizing  light interception and productivity
  • World production of fruits, temperate fruits, the Ontario fruit industry', growth stages, and critical temperatures
  • Orchard site selection. Video of Ontario apple production systems.  Discussion of climate ‘normals’
  • Orchard Nutrition and soil management
  • Integrated Farming Systems – Orchards, Forests and Food
  • Fruit Tree Quality, Propagation
  • Orchard Systems, Training and Pruning
  • Rootstocks
  • Plant bioregulators used in tree fruit production
Labs & Seminars:
Labs will complement the lectures and will likely include a visit(s) to commercial growers, and studies of plant material and literature during indoor periods. A schedule will be announced when details of the visits are finalized and indicated on CourseLink. Come prepared for cold, Page 9 of 14
wet weather, etc. All students must complete and sign an indemnification form for each field trip at the scheduled class. An indemnification form will be provided in class. A fee to partially cover transportation (to be determined) will be required on some field trips. Sample products can be purchased at some locations if students wish at their own expense.

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade

Class Participation




Field Trip Assignment


Midterm Exam


Laboratory Practical Exam


Poster Presentation


Final Exam


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There is no required text for the course. However, students are encouraged to make use of pomology texts and other material in the library. 

Recommended Texts and Reserve Material:
Students will be responsible for selected readings throughout the semester as well as for information contained in material handed out in class and on Course-link.
Some of the following books are on reserve in the library on two-hour loan.
  1. Westwood, N.M. 1993. Temperature zone pomology. 3rd ed. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Teskey, B. J. E. 1978. Tree Fruit Production.3rd ed.  Avi Pub. Co, Westport, Conn.
  2. Childers, N. F., J. R. Morris, and G. S. Sibbet. 1995. Modern fruit science : orchard and small fruit culture. Horticultural Publications, Gainesville, FL.
  3. Galletta, G. J., D.G. Himelrick, and L. E. Chandler. 1989. Small fruit crop management. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
  4. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 2012. Fruit Production Recommendations 2010 – 2011. Queens Printer of Ontario, Toronto. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm (August 2011)
  5. Faust, M. 1989. Physiology of Temperate Zone Fruit Trees. Wiley Interscience, New York.
  6. Jackson, D., N. E. Looney, M. Morley-Bunker. 2011. Temperate and subtropical fruit production. 3rd ed. CABI, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
  7. Baugher, T. A. and S. Singha. 2003. Concise Encyclopedia of Temperate Tree Fruit. Food Products Press, New York, NY.
  8. Eck, P. 1988. Blueberry Science. Rutgers University Press
  9. Hancock, J.F., 1999. Strawberries Crop Production Science in Horticulture. CABI Publishing, Oxon, UK

Students will be responsible for selected readings throughout the semester as well as for information contained in material handed out in class.

Other Resources:

Lab Manual:  None

Other Resources:

Courselink: D2L will be used for this course. 

Library Sources of Information:
J. American Pomological Society, American Fruit Grower, Goodfruit Grower, Canadian Journal Journal of Plant Science, Hortscience, Scientia Horticulturae, Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology

The information in the poster should be referenced to the source. In the text the reference should appear in brackets after the piece of information and should include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.

  • (Smith, 1998)
  • (Smith and Johnson, 1996) for two authors
  • (Smith et al, 1990) for more than two authors

In the Reference section the sources should be listed in alphabetical order by last name of the primary author (not the order of appears in the paper).

Internet Sources for Fruit Production
This listing of sites and links on the Internet serves as a way of extracting good quality fruit crop information. It will complement, not substitute for, material in research journals and textbooks listed in the course outline.
More links can be found at: http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/treefruit/ Click on “Industry Links”. Also, text resources available on D2L CourseLink site and at the Library Reserve Desk 

Field Trips:

Field trips are designed to provide the student with direct exposure to successful management and marketing practices. There will be common themes that all students will discover but each student will take away unique experiences from each visit. A bus will meet students in parking lot P34 and will leave promptly at the designated time (normally 2:30 pm) on field trip days (during the lab period). An all day field trip is planned to Norfolk County for a Saturday in September, and this will replace three of the lab periods scheduled for Thursday afternoons. A fee will be charged to partially cover transportation costs. Lunch on the Saturday field trip is not provided, but we will stop at a restaurant where students may purchase food or alternatively bring their own lunch.

Poster Preparation and Presentation:

A scientific-type poster covering a specific aspect of crop production or plant physiology of tree fruit or berry crop science will be presented during one of the lab periods. Appropriate reference material should be obtained from scientific journal articles - not factsheets and bulletins. The poster should be based on a minimum of 3 and not more than 10 scientific articles.

The poster will be designed according to the guidelines provided during an information session on poster presentation. The format to be followed will be similar to the American Society for Horticultural Science. Size of the poster will be defined for the student. Generally, a three column format is most acceptable with pictures and graphs to provide focus.

Topics should be directly related to tree fruits or berry crops and must be approved by the instructor. The topic should pertain to a specific aspect of plant production/ physiology. Topics on tree fruit or berry crop diseases and insects are not permitted unless they are closely linked to some aspect of plant physiology. A list of suggested topics will be provided. Topics will be distributed equally between tree fruit and berry crop subjects.

More appropriately, indicate: outdoor or indoor study, treatments, rootstocks and cultivars, and the region of research. Not all experiments need to be reported nor do all results need to be included. Summarize and condense where appropriate. The discussion and conclusion should be your creation, but you may borrow some thoughts from the authors. Neatness, correct English, and correct spelling are expected. Students will be held responsible for all the information presented on the posters.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

Late written assignments without a valid reason will be penalized 10% per day. For poster presentation, a mutually suitable time for student and instructors will need to be rescheduled to evaluate the poster with the student and marks will be deducted at 10% per day until an electronic copy of the poster is submitted to course-link. ( For example, an assignment that is late 5 days, would achieve a maximum of score of 50% (5 x 10%/day= 50% penalty).

Course Policy on Group Work:

Not applicable.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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