New Workshops for 2016 – VanDusen Botanical Garden

Tree Fruit Pest and Disease Solutions     

Sat. Mar 8, 6 – 8 pm – Vancouver

In this course you will learn about the pests and diseases that plague fruit trees in the Vancouver area, how to identify each and organic methods you can use to control them. Other topics that will be included are disease resistant varieties, types of tree fruits that rarely have any problems and cultural practices that reduce or prevent infestations. Pests and diseases of apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots and figs will be addressed. The best pest and disease reference books and online sources will be discussed.

For more information and how to register click here: VanDusen Botanical Garden

New Workshops for 2016 – Fraser Valley Continuing Education

Espalier Training of Fruit Trees

Wednesday February 24 – 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm Credo Christian High, LANGLEY

During this workshop, Tree Fruit Expert and Espalier Master, Richard Hallman, will teach you about espalier;  the ancient horticultural practice of controlling woody plant growth for the production of fruit for ornamental effect. Espalier is living art that developed long before the science of plant growth was understood. Dozens of espalier forms and how to create them will be discussed including the classic two dimensional forms and several three dimensional forms. You will learn how to start new espalier fruit trees, how to renew and maintain existing trees and what types of fruit trees are best for beginners and those that are more challenging. Rootstocks, training techniques, summer pruning and support systems will all be included. You can contact the instructor by e-mail at

For more information and to register click here:FV Continuing Education

Dormant Organic Fruit Tree Insect & Disease Control

Wednesday March 9 – 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm        Credo Christian High, LANGLEY

During this workshop, Tree Fruit Expert Richard Hallman, will teach you about the insects and diseases that attack fruit trees in the Fraser Valley and organic ways to control them. You will learn how to identify and monitor for them, how to determine if they will cause significant damage to your fruit, their life cycles and the times during the spring and summer when they usually become a problem. How to tell the good insects (predators) from the bad guys and how to encourage the good guys will be included. Many organic methods of control that can be used during the spring and summer will be discussed. Many of the materials and tools that you can use to monitor for these insects and diseases and protect your trees and fruit will be displayed and demonstrated in the classroom.

For more information and to register click here:FV Continuing Education

Fall Workshops

Fruit tree workshops that I will be instructing this fall are:

City of Richmond Environmental Sustainability Workshops

Dormant Season Tree Fruit Pruning – October 24th, 2015 – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Learn successful techniques to prune and train your fruit trees during the dormant season. How to start young trees, maintain mature trees and renew old and overgrown trees will be included. Apples, pears, cherries, plums, figs, blueberries, kiwi fruit and grapes will be discussed.

How to Put more Fruit on Your Trees – October 24th, 2015 – 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Learn the causes of poor fruit yields and how proper pruning and improved tree nutrition can maximize bloom and fruit set to grow to more quality fruit on your trees. Apples, pears, cherries, plums and peaches will be discussed.

Click here or more information and how to register: City of Richmond Environmental Sustainability Workshops

Vandusen Botanical Garden Workshop 

Fruit Tree Pruning – Sat. Nov 7, 10 am – 12:30 pm (Offsite)

Learn the basics of proper pruning and training of fruit trees, allowing them to develop a strong framework to support fruit production, open up the tree canopy to maximize light penetration and reduce the potential for disease. This course will cover the why, how and when to prune and train fruit trees to grow the healthiest trees with high production of fruit buds. The course will combine lecture with pruning demonstrations on a variety of different trees including apples, cherries, figs, pears and plums. Course takes place at the rooftop orchard of the Athlete’s Village Co-op.

For more information and how to register click here: VanDusen Botanical Garden

Fraser Valley Continuing Education Course

Winter Tree Fruit Pruning and Training – November 14, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

During this workshop fruit tree expert, Richard Hallman, will teach you how apple, pear, plum and other fruit trees grow and produce fruit. Then he will teach and show you how to prune, train and shape them during the winter dormant season for maximum fruit production. Pruning of new trees and training them to various shapes and forms such as espalier will be included.  Maintenance pruning of mature trees renovation of overgrown trees will also be discussed. An important part of this workshop is learning to identify and remove diseased branches to improve the health of your trees.

This is a two part workshop, the morning session will be in a classroom followed by an outdoor pruning demonstration in the afternoon. The outdoor portion will focus on renovation and maintenance pruning of apples, Asian pears and plums. The outdoor portion of this workshop will be at the Maples Discovery Gardens Coop (7743 – 200 Street, Langley). The location is across from the Langley Events Centre on the west side of 200th. Please approach the turn off from the north, the entrance is marked by two orange triangles. You can contact the instructor by e-mail at

For more information and to register click here:FV Continuing Education

Lee Valley Tools Seminar (Coquitlam Store)

Prune Your Trees and Fruit Trees, Bushes and Vines Like a Pro – Wednesday November 18, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

With Richard Hallman, you will learn everything you need to know about the pruning and training of fruit trees, bushes and vines. Richard will start with teaching you how these plants grow and fruit and how to increase the amount and quality of the fruit they produce. He will then teach you how to prune and train new plants, maintenance pruning of mature plants and how to renovate them if they become overgrown. The training and maintenance of espalier and other restricted trained tree forms and trellising methods for vines will be included. He will also cover how to identify and prune out disease cankers to improve plant health.  He will go over the uses, care and sharpening of a wide range of pruning tools. Apples, pears, cherries, plums, figs, grapes, Kiwi fruit, blueberries, currants and brambles will be included. Bring your questions and pictures of any particular pruning problems you are experiencing for discussion during the seminar.

For more information and how to register click here: Lee Valley Tools Coquitlam

UBC Apple Festival

The UBC Apple Festival is this weekend, October 17 and 17, 2015. This is a great event for the entire family. Come and visit with me at my Fruit Tree Pruning/Espalier Booth. I will be giving short talks every half hour on both days on one of these topics:

  • Apple Tree Pruning
  • Espalier Tree Training
  • Pruning New Apple Tree
My Pruning Booth at the 2014 Apple Festival

My Pruning Booth at the 2014 Apple Festival

Click here for more information about the UBC Apple Festival

Introduction to Growing Backyard Fruit Trees

October 14 Workshop at the University of British Columbia Farm

HallmanAn introduction to the types of fruit trees that can be grown in the Vancouver area and how to care for them. How to prune and train new, mature and overgrown trees will be included. Common pest and disease problems, how to identify them and ways that they can be minimized and controlled organically will be discussed. Bring along samples of problems you have had on your fruit, leaves and branches and they will be identified during the workshop.Date and Time:  Wednesday, October 14 | 5:30 – 8:30 pmCost:  $45 ($38 for registered students — valid student ID is required) + GSTAbout the Instructor:  Richard Hallman is a professional fruit tree horticulturalist. He grew up on an orchard in the Okanagan Valley and went on to work for the BC Ministry of Agriculture and other tree fruit organizations for more than 30 years. He is now an independent consultant helping home gardeners throughout the Vancouver and Fraser Valley learn how to grow and care for their fruit trees. His primary passion is the training of espalier fruit trees. He is a UBC Grad, a Registered Professional Agrologist, a Certified Arborist and an Espalier Master.

Bagging Little Green Apples

A post on:

Submitted by katie on Wed, 08/26/2015 – 12:38

Earlier this summer we caught up with Richard Hallman, one of our workshop instructors to ask him about his work and why he was bagging apples. If you are interested in learning more about Tree Fruit Horticulture Richard is teaching Fall Fruit Tree Pest & Disease Control on September 26, 2015.

In Richard’s own words: 

The most destructive and frustrating insect pest of apples and pears in the Vancouver area are Codling Moth and Apple Maggot, the worms in our fruit. The Codling Moth adult is a moth that was introduced to BC from Europe in the early 1900’s. Apple Maggot adult is a fly that moved across the border from Washington State in 2006. Organic management of these two insects is difficult and often unsuccessful.

Codling Moth adults started emerging in the Vancouver area during the last half of May this year and Apple Maggot adults are now emerging as well. One of the most successful ways to prevent damage from these insects in home gardens is the use of exclusion bags and the UBC Botanical Garden is using a few this year on trial. Usually a small mesh bag is pulled over the small fruit and firmly tied to the stem. The first image attached to this post is of a bag newly installed. These bags protect the fruit from the insects and they expand with the fruit providing season long protection (see the second image). Installing these bags is a lot of work, a manageable job if your trees are small.

An alternative to using these mesh bags is to use Japanese Apple Bags to protect the fruit. These are double bags, an inside bag of rice paper and a outside bag of heavy paper. These bags were developed in Japan to improve the appearance of the fruit. These bags are only used on apples that ripen in late September to early October and are red at harvest. Chlorophyll (the green color) usually develops in apple fruit exposed to sunlight, inside these bags the apples are white or pale yellow. About 10 days before harvest the bag is taken off the fruit and a dark colored graphic is attached, then the rice paper bag is put back over the fruit to prevent sunburn. This late in the year there is not enough time for chlorophyll to develop so when anthocyanins (the red color) start to develop stimulated by cooling temperatures the color that results is a bright red rather than the usual dark red. At harvest the rice paper bag and the graphic are removed and you have a insect free bright red apple with a custom graphic. The above images are of a project using these bags in the Creston Valley.

Richard Hallman is the UBC Botanical Garden Fruit Tree Expert in Residence


Tree of 40 Fruits

Over the last few months the “Tree of 40 Fruits” has been trending all over the internet and traditional media. Here is the Smithsonian Magazine article about this tree and the person who developed it, Sam Van Aken. Here is Sam Van Aken’s own page and here is a YouTube Video about it. There have been lots of stories about this tree some simply amazed and some calling it a hoax. It is not a hoax, The techniques that Sam Van Aken used to create the many “Trees of 40 Fruits” that he has made are the same techniques that nurseries and orchardists use to create the tree fruit planted in gardens and orchards around the world. His trees are based on the graft compatibility of most types of plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines and almonds. He has done a nice job of researching blossom colors and the relative dates when each cultivar grafted on his trees to design a tree with many colors of blossoms that should bloom for a few weeks in most climatic zones. And then there is the multi colored fruit and prolonged harvest from early summer into the fall. Great job well done!