East Michigan fruit crop report – July 11, 2017

Tart cherry, summer red and black raspberry harvest continues, with blueberry harvest starting at some farms. Much-needed rain swept through the region, bringing hail to several farms.


Most farms received good rainfall in the past week, with precipitation totals for most fruit farms ranging from 0.5 inch to 2 inches. Unfortunately, there was a fair amount of hail reported from thunderstorms on Friday, July 7. Some farms suffered a total loss of this year’s crop.

With rain over the last two weeks, soil moisture supplies have begun to rebound. The exception remains the southern tier of Michigan counties, where soils remain dry.

Normal summer temperatures over the last week continued to build the typical number of growing degree-days (GDD), however our season remains about four to five days ahead of normal in terms of GDD totals and the beginning of harvest of our summer fruit crops.

East Michigan GGD totals for March 1 to July 10, 2017





Commerce (Oakland County)




Deerfield (Monroe County)




Emmett (St Clair County)




Flint (Genesee County)




Freeland (Saginaw County)




Lapeer (Lapeer County)




Pigeon (Huron County)




Romeo (Macomb County)




Tree fruits

Apples have continued to size well over the last two weeks on soils where moisture is adequate. Honeycrisp are mostly 2 to 2.5 inches. Apples have colored well in the last few weeks, especially McIntosh and related varieties. Hand-thinning continues in blocks on good sites and in blocks close to wind machines.

I have no new pests to report in apples. Woolly apple aphids continue moving from pruning cuts to terminal branches. A few San Jose scale crawlers are being seen. Both of these insects have been major pests in many apple blocks the last few seasons.

Potato leafhopper and white apple leafhopper numbers are still on the upswing where they have not been controlled in the past few weeks, with leaf cupping and white mottling of leaves common in some blocks. Green apple aphid populations remained high in a few blocks, with good numbers of predators feeding on them.

European red mite numbers continue to build in a few apple blocks, especially where road dust or dry soils are an issue. The number of Japanese beetles in several fruit crops continued to rise in the last week. Beneficial numbers are building, with many green lacewing adults and lady beetle larvae.

Cedar apple rust remains a problem in under-sprayed apple blocks, although very little in well-maintained blocks. Apple scab lesions continue to be found on leaves and fruit. Powdery mildew symptoms continue to be found.

Pears are mostly 1.375 inches, with much of the fruit having frost marks. All stages of pear psylla are being found, with close to a third of the fruit on some varieties having sooty mold from this pest.

Peaches remain about the same size, mostly 1.5 to 1.75 inches. Many blocks need additional thinning. Leaves and fruit in a few blocks have a touch of bacterial spot. This is a new disease to report this week. A few green peach aphids continue to be found, as well as some light amounts of peach leaf curl symptoms. I have not found any shoot flagging from oriental fruit moth, which is unusual.

Sweet cherry harvest has wrapped up at most farms.

Tart cherry harvest continues across the region, with roughly half the crop being harvested. There is a wider than normal range of fruit maturity this season. Birds have been less of a problem than they were in sweet cherries.

I have had a few reports of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) infesting tart cherries in the last week. This is a new pest to report and is the first time SWD have infested fruit this early in the season. Trap catch numbers are on the rise.

Cherry leaf spot continues being found in most tart cherry blocks, causing leaf yellowing and premature leaf drop.

Plums remain mostly 1 to 1.125 inches for European types, and 1.25 to 1.5 inches for Japanese varieties. Some early Japanese varieties, like Methley, are starting to develop color. I am also finding a few Stanley types starting to color. This fruit will mostly likely drop early. Overall, this season’s plum crop is extremely variably, with some varieties having little to no fruit.

Small fruits

Strawberry renovation is underway at most farms. Michigan State University Extension advises putting irrigation pipes back into renovated fields as soon as possible, and irrigate shortly after renovation to help berries rebound quickly.

Potato leafhopper populations are building in new plantings where they have not been controlled. Keep an eye on the new foliage in newly planted fields for signs of continued leaf curling from potato leafhoppers.

Most newly planted fields have good runner development and are just starting to fill the row. Watch that new berries are also well-watered, as many fields are dry.

Raspberry harvest continues for summer red raspberry and black raspberry varieties. Small berry size was a concern for early varieties, mostly due to dry soils. Fall raspberry varieties have good growth, with most canes 30 to 34 inches long. The bud berries on shorter canes continue developing.

SWD are being caught in traps in summer raspberries in good numbers. Control measures should be underway in summer raspberries for this most troublesome pest.

Blueberry fruit sized and colored well in the past week, with many farms starting to harvest early varieties in the last few days. All varieties are coloring well. Overall, we have a very nice blueberry crop this season at most farms.

SWD are being caught in good numbers in blueberry traps. Control measures should be underway in blueberries for this most troublesome pest.

Saskatoon harvest has wrapped up.

Grapes are at berry touch for Concord types and close to berry touch for Vinifera types.

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