In the search for methods of reducing direct pest control in organic fruit growing, several farmers in South Tirol and Austria who have experience in this field were visited. At the same time, various cultivars of apple, pear and peach were observed in the research orchard of the Institute for Fruit Production and Horticulture at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna. Clear differences among varieties with regard to their susceptibility to important pests and diseases were readily observable. The necessity of testing cultivars in organically managed systems using a minimum of direct plant protection was emphasized by many farmers. The farmer's experience and our own observations demonstrated that soil management, fertilization, rootstocks, forming and pruning also influence plant health and need to be taken more precisely into account in organic farming. Other important issues still to be considered include the study of suitable complementary plants for fruit trees and the connection between soil and tree health
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