Southwestern Ontario Growers


As a new member of this forum and a new fruit grower I am looking for advice from the more experienced growers in my area. I am 6b in southwestern Ontario. In Canada we don’t seem to have the same extension services that they have in the USA. I was wondering what people found easy to grow and what was too much work as well as what are the big pests as well as what the resources/blogs/advice that are relavent to our area.



So far, I’m having better luck with berries and small fruits than most of the trees. I try to stagger the harvest so a mix of stuff is needed.
Sour cherries, Saskatoons and pears are the only trees that are producing for me. I haven’t tried apple due to how much can be bought cheap here. We’re a bit too cold for peaches or figs so none of them. I also have limited room so a bunch of the nuts are out…
My apricots are young and the older one took a hit in the late frost, so nothing yet. I’ve got plums but they are getting mangled by curculio and the drought.
The kiwi and hazelnuts do okay, but bunny guards are going up this year since all have been damaged.
Grapes seem fine, I have fruit set this year.
I do better with haskap than blueberries. Much easier and early, but they need netting and are cooking/smoothie berry rather than fresh eating.
Black raspberries are a winner, but picking is work due to the thorns. Strawberries do okay, but high bird pressure and I can buy better locally.
Currants and gooseberries do well, just watch out for sawfly larvae.


Are you having to spray your pears?

So far, all I’ve ever sprayed with is dormancy oil. It made a huge differance with the sour cherries. I’ve used it from the start on the pears so no idea what it would be like otherwise. No major bug issues with them.
I do manually remove tent caterpillars.
I also use bt on my roses and have done nematodes for the ground.
I’m looking into a good sprayer for next year since the oil tends to kill the cheap ones. I may also try the surround clay next year for the plums. So far, very few Japanese beetles. I kill what I find. Picnic beetles can be a problem with the fall raspberries but rigerous use of a kill bucket seems to work.

I think it can helpful to think through what you actually like to eat, what is hard to get or expensive, and what things have big quality differences between store and home grown. This can be an amazing thing to do, but you want to get value for your time, space, money and effort. ( make sure you sample some things before committing to them. Sea buckthorn may look appealing but it’s thorny, has huge seeds in tiny fruit and the taste is…challenging)

Whiffletree farm in Elora, is where we got a chunk of our stuff. I’ve found them good, but as the business gets bigger, the sizes of plants is getting smaller.


Thanks for the advice! I am using whiffletree for my trees and so far they have mostly been good. Is there a source of Surround here in Canada that you are aware of?

I haven’t found one yet. Figuring out that, tanglefoot and a decent sprayer are in my Winter project file.

1 Like

I’d echo everything @Viridian said. I started 4 years ago so not an expert. I’ve bought from Whiffeltree and Silver Creek Nursery. Happy with both.
For local info, run a podcast out of Toronto.

1 Like

Has anyone figured out how to get Surround or something similar in Ontario?

I contacted the MOE about it and this was the reply:
"… Ontario maintains a List of Active Ingredients Authorized for Cosmetic Uses which contain a list of active ingredients that can be used for cosmetic purposes. While kaolin (the active ingredient in Surround) is on this list, there are currently no pesticide products containing kaolin that are allowed to be used by homeowners in Canada. Surround, for example, is a commercial product which is intended to be used for agricultural operations. In addition, those who intend to use it for an agricultural operation need to be licensed. It is not marketed for use by the general public in and around the home.

Pesticides that can be used by homeowners must have the word “Domestic” on the pesticide product label and must only have active ingredients that are on the list mentioned above, with few exceptions. Unfortunately, as stated above, there is no such product that is registered in Canada, and kaolin on its own cannot be used for pest control as it would violate both federal and provincial requirements…"

My plums were hammered by plum curculio last year and I need to figure something out or replace the plums with something else ( which would be a waste of 3-4 years).


If you’re not a registered «commercial orchard» good luck finding any products listed of that we can read about on spray schedule products or/and what members use for keeping fruit trees bugs under control …

I would bet all my future Shipova harvest (maybe in 3 years) that Canadians individuals have access to about 5% of what citizens of USA individuals.have access to in terms of pesticide, fongicides etc…

I would bet my next raspberry (Anne variety) harvest (so dear to my :heart:) that very few American on this forum would believe that here in the province of Québec it’s impossible to buy neem oil… Yes that’s true, I have to buy it in Ontario. Do I hear everyone yelling : ridiculous???

Sometimes I wish I would have stuck to small berry fruits instead of going for fruit trees… But miracles happen (not only sh*t, right?. I was not supposed to get quince, and persimmons and (maybe pawpaws within the next 5 years, maybe) and I harvest the first two. So keep faith.



No luck getting surround.

The best resource I have re sprays available in canada to the home owner is from a bc guide.

For bugs basically we have pyretherins and Malathion and btk. I don’t have a mature orchard but I do think our cold winters means less pest pressure overall at least from bugs. It might just be wishfull thinking though.