Fruit Production - Temperate Climate

Grow temperate fruits including apples, pears, peaches, plums, citrus, berries, citrus and nuts. Learn all the basics, understand the industry and start a business in fruit growing. Learn from experts.

Course Code: BHT218
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Grow Fruit Trees and other Fruits

Learn how and become an expert!

  • Study Fruit Growing; work on an orchard, start a business or develop your self sufficiency
  • Grow your horticultural skills, learning from highly qualified horticulture tutors who know the industry, plants and growing techniques well. Benefit from their decades of experience
  • Self paced, flexible, 100 hour course
This course is ideal for anyone serious about fruit growing; from the small hobby farmer to orchard worker, or enthusiastic amateur who aspires to win first prize for their fruit at the local garden show.

This course lays the foundation for improved success with growing fruit; no matter whether you seek greater sustainability in your life, or wish to explore or improve career or business opportunities.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Temperate Fruit Growing
    • Deciding What to Grow
    • Crop Selection Criteria
    • Options of Types of Fruits: Citrus, Berries, Vine Fruits, Pome Fruits, Stone Fruits, Nuts, etc
    • The Botany of a Fruit and Fruit Development
    • The Flower and Inflorescence
    • Types of Fruit: simple, aggregate, multiple
    • Modification of Fruits
    • How Seed Forms, Buds
    • Terminology
    • Morphological Changes in Plants
  2. Establishing an Orchard
    • Considerations when Establishing an Orchard
    • Site Selection; size, location, climate, water, pest and disease exposure, etc
    • Calculating Effective Rainfall
    • Drawing an Orchard Plan
  3. General Cultural Practices
    • Understanding Soils
    • Physical Soil Characteristics; soil texture, structure, etc
    • Chemical Characteristics of Soil; pH, Nutrition
    • Soil Water
    • Simple Soil Tests
    • Dealing with Fruit Tree Problems
    • Identifying a Problem
    • Pests; chewing insects, sucking insects, other pests, birds
    • Diseases; fungal, virus, bacterial
    • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
    • Chemical Pest Control
    • Non Chemical Pest Control
    • Common Environmental Problems
    • Staking Plants, Cages and tree guards
    • Weed Control
    • Nutrition and Plant Feeding
    • Pruning Fruit Trees
    • Pruning Systems
    • Water, Drainage and Irrigation
  4. Tree Fruits
    • Deciduous Fruit Trees
    • Winter Chilling Requirements
    • Climate Needs
    • Choosing Varieties
    • Pollination Needs
    • Growing Apples
    • Apricot
    • Cherry
    • Fig
    • Loquat
    • Asian Pear or Nashi
    • Olive
    • Peach and Nectarine
    • Pear, Plum
    • Pepino, Pomegranate, Quince, Tree Tomato
    • Using Compost
  5. Vines, Nuts and Berries
    • Nut Growing Introduction
    • Walnut Culture
    • Chestnut, Almond, Macadamia, Pecan, American Hazelnut, Filbert, etc
    • Passionfruit Culture
    • Chinese Gooseberry
    • Grape Cultivation
    • Overview of Berry Fruit Growing
    • Strawberry Growing
    • Raspberry, Cape Gooseberry, Mulberry, Blueberry, Elderberry, Currants, Cranberry, Brambles
  6. Citrus
    • Introduction to Citrus Culture
    • Overview of Species
    • Temperature Tolerance
    • Culture and Planting Citrus
    • Citrus Problems and treatments
    • Citrus Directory; review of main types
  7. Cultural Management of a Fruit Plantation or Orchard
    • Developing a Maintenance Program
    • The Production Plan
    • Producing a Flow Chart (Timetable) for a crop
  8. Marketing Your Produce
    • Introduction
    • Marketing Options
    • Conducting Market Research
    • Standards; quality, quantity, cost efficiency
    • Sales Price
    • Example of Harvest and Post Harvest treatment of a Crop

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify different types of fruit crops, which can be successfully grown in your region.
  • Explain the nature of the fruit industry in your region (locality).
  • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops.
  • Develop a plan for the establishment of an orchard.
  • Formulate appropriate methods for marketing specific fruit crops grown in your locality.
  • Develop a calendar for cultural management of a fruit plantation, or orchard.

What You Will Do

  • Compile a resource file different sources of information regarding commercial fruit varieties.
  • Compare the facilities used to produce different fruit crops, in a specified locality.
  • Determine criteria for selecting a fruit variety to grow as a commercial crop in your locality.
  • Select different fruit varieties with commercial potential for a specified location.
  • Analyse the physical layout of a specified orchard.
  • Determine the scope of commercial fruit growing in a specified locality.
  • Demonstrate standard soil tests to three different soils to determine:
    • Soil type
    • pH
    • Drainage
    • Water holding capacity
  • Evaluate the three different soils tested to determine their suitability for growing different fruit varieties.
  • Analyse the culture
  • Watering
  • Weed control
  • Soil management
  • Pruning
  • Fertilising
  • Pest control
  • Disease control
  • Determine soil management practices, including:
  • Nutrition
  • Soil structure
  • Cultivation
  • Weed control
  • Determine the susceptibility of four specified fruit species to pest and disease problems.
  • Explain how to control twenty different, specified pests and diseases, on different fruit varieties grown.
  • Develop sets of guidelines for pruning three different types of fruits.
  • Determine the factors which are critical to growing fruit trees in your locality.
  • Determine criteria to select a site for fruit growing in your locality.
  • Compare the physical layout of two different orchards you visit.
  • Prepare a plan for establishing a fruit growing area, in your locality, including:
    • Concept layout plan drawn to scale
    • Materials list (including plants)
    • Cost estimates for establishment.
  • Analyse three different marketing systems in the fruit industry, including at local, national and international levels.
  • Explain four common reasons for price fluctuations in the fruit industry.
  • Compare different fruit crops in relation to different factors, including:
    • Storage requirements
    • Storage life
    • Harvesting time
    • Shelf life
    • Transport to market
  • Evaluate the presentation and packaging of three different fruits, for marketing through different marketing systems.
  • Analyse different marketing strategies used by a specific fruit grower.
  • Develop a marketing strategy, including:
    • Marketing stages
    • Marketing schedule (ie. timetable)
    • Estimated marketing costs
    • Handling procedures
    • Promotions, for a specific fruit crop.
  • Differentiate between the cultural practices undertaken by different growers, on the same crop, grown in different localities.
  • Determine the cultural practices necessary to grow different fruit crops for a twelve month period, on a specified site.
  • Prepare a monthly calender, covering a twelve month period, for cultural practices in a fruit plantation or orchard.

Scope of Temperate Fruit Growing

The following information is a broad look at what crops fall within the scope of temperate fruit growing:


Requires a large area, takes at least 3 years from planting to production of any worthwhile crop, full production takes a lot longer; trees can remain productive for a hundred years or more. A development in recent decades has been a steady trend towards mechanisation (although you may consider lack of finance a serious limitation to efficient production of citrus - you might need to mechanise to be competitive!). This is an extremely competitive area – large citrus orchards are common throughout countries such as Australia, South Africa and the USA – these supply a large volume of the world’s market. Organic growing practices could still offer niche markets however. The trees are both seedling grown (these are prone to soil borne diseases and pests eg. phytophthora and nematodes) and also grafted. The rootstocks and scions (grafts) chosen should be suited to your area. Fruit keep and transport well. Products include fresh fruit, juice, marmalade, rind/peel, and some canned and candied fruits. Small areas under a hectare or so have been productive units in the past.

Berry fruits

Highly productive for the area cultivated; a few acres of berries can support a small family. Tree fruits may require 10 hectares (approx. 20 acres) or more to bring a similar return. Most berries produce within the first few years (blueberries are an exception). Some berries last only a few seasons (eg. strawberries). Fruit doesn't keep fresh for very long. Highly labour intensive but many small farms offer ‘you pick’ options for the general public, farm gate sales and organically grown produce. Products include: fresh fruit, jams, syrups and some frozen fruit.


Most require a relatively large area to produce a worthwhile crop. Most nuts grow on trees and take at least 4 years from planting to the time when significant crops are produced (some 10 years or more). Keeping qualities are good if kept dry. Require at least a couple of acres to produce marketable quantities. Farm gate sales can be quite viable.


Grape vines require a medium to large area (more than berries, not as much as nuts or citrus). The crop is either sold fresh, dried or used for wine; less than 10% is eaten as fresh fruit grapes. Growing for drying is only worthwhile in low rainfall areas; growing for wine can be profitable in a wide range of areas (high to low rainfall). Dried fruit or wine will keep well, but fresh fruit does not keep very long at all.

Vines require a lot of attention and take several years before coming into bearing. A vineyard is very expensive to set up initially. Other vine fruits widely grown include kiwi-fruit and passion-fruit.

Pome fruits

These include apples, pears and quinces. An average apple orchard supporting a family might be between 10 and 15 hectares (25 and 35 acres). Smaller acreages can provide a profitable sideline. Will grow in a wide range of areas on a wide variety of soils provided reasonably drained and watered, with temperatures which include reasonably cold nights during winter. Keeping quality is up to 6 months or so in cold storage.

Stone fruits

These include apricots, peaches and plums. These are a little less hardy than pome fruits, but still adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Drainage is more critical. Fruit does not keep as long as pome fruits. Both stone and pome fruits take up to 5 years to come into commercial bearing from planting time.

This course covers all of these different types of fruits!



Building skills and knowledge benefits anyone serious about horticulture. If you are looking to set up a fruit growing concern, work in one, or want to find work in that field or want to set up a fruit orchard for your own use, or as a backyard business - then this course is definitely going to help you towards that goal.


  • Those working in an orchard
  • Thoe who want to further develop their skills by learning from experts with years of industry knowledge
  • Those setting up an orchard or fruit growing enterprise
  • Those who would like to develop more knowledge for their own backyard production
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
Principal, John Mason is a long term member of the Garden Media Guild
Principal, John Mason is a long term member of the Garden Media Guild
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason has been a member of the International Scociety of Horticultural Science since 2003
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason has been a member of the International Scociety of Horticultural Science since 2003
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Maggi Brown

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades.
Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .

Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

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