For current research-based information on growing tree fruits, attend the 2018 Commercial Tree Fruit Schools. Two locations are available this year. On Feb. 13 the school is being offered in Mt. Vernon at the DoubleTree, formerly the Holiday Inn. The school will be repeated on Feb. 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall three miles south of Hardin.

Speakers from University of Illinois, Weinzierl Fruit and Consulting, and Summit Tree Sales will discuss a wide range of subjects to help you meet the challenges of tree fruit production. Special guest speaker Matthew Schuld from Summit Tree Sales will discuss choosing varieties for the commercial orchard and planning for the long term. Kurt Range from Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville will discuss the 2017 year in review.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about insect management techniques, identification and control of apple and peach diseases, and identifying post-harvest food safety issues. Industry representatives will be on hand to talk about their latest products and services.

The Commercial Tree Fruit School at both locations begins with registration at 8 a.m. The program at the Mt. Vernon location runs from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., while the program at the Hardin location runs from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

The pre-registration cost at the Mt. Vernon location is $40 per farm. Registration at the door will be $50 per farm. The registration fee includes one copy of the 2018 Midwest Spray Guide per farm. Lunch is on your own. If you have questions about the Mt. Vernon location, contact Laurie George at 618-242-0780 or via email at ljgeorge@illinois.edu.

The pre-registration cost at the Hardin location is $40 per person. Orchards sending more than one employee will pay $40 for the first person and $30 for each additional person. Registration at the door will be $50 per person. The registration fee includes one copy of the 2018 Midwest Spray Guide per orchard. Additional spray guides will be available for purchase. Lunch will be provided. For questions regarding the Hardin location, contact Ken Johnson at 217-243-7424 or kjohnso@illinois.edu.

To receive the discounted registration fee, advance registration is required before Feb. 5. Online registration for both locations is available at http://go.illinois.edu/2018treefruit.

For more information on University of Illinois Extension programming in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at 217-345-7034.

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