Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Pears should be picked green and ripened off the tree for best quality and storage life.

Seasoned Advice for Successful Fruit Gardening

Are you wondering when to prune your fruit trees? Are bugs bugging your berry patch? Do you need hands-on advice to create a fruitful berry garden and home orchard? It’s at your finger tips right here - Stella Otto, horticulturist, teacher, and award winning author shares her years of experience and answers your questions while guiding you on the path to many fruitful harvests!

Latest from the Orchardist's Journal


The Tree of 40 Fruits

August 19, 2015

When it comes to graft­ing fruit trees, most of us would be hard pressed to top Sam Van Aken. How­ever, in urban areas around the United States, small bands of intre­pid grafters give it a clan­des­tine try. Not only does Van Aken  seek to cre­ate a fas­ci­nat­ing tree of great beauty, his unique cre­ation could […]

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Thinning Fruit—How?

July 12, 2015

I’ve already dis­cussed why you should thin fruit from your tree. Yes, you really should! I’ll men­tion one more rea­son now that I didn’t touch on in the last post: Many young, devel­op­ing, dwarf fruit trees tend to be pre­co­cious. That is, they often start bear­ing fruit in their sec­ond or third year of growth. Naturally, […]

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Thinning Fruit Off Your Trees —Why?

June 29, 2015

Mother Nature has built in sur­vival by ensur­ing that fruit trees bear many more blos­soms than are needed for a full crop. How­ever, this cre­ates a catch-22 when more blos­soms grow and develop into more lit­tle fruit than the tree really can sup­port. Just as wisely, nature’s design includes the like­li­hood that not all developing […]

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The Orchardist, Stella Otto


Stella Otto has a B.S. in Horticulture, fruit production specialization, from Michigan State University. She resides in northern Michigan’s Leelanau county, Cherry Capital of the world. She gardens together with her husband, son, and daughter. Their 2 horses contribute copiously to the compost pile, while their 3 cats handle some pest control patrol.
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