East Michigan fruit regional report – April 19, 2016

Unseasonal warm temperatures over the weekend and early this week resulted in at least a weeks’ worth of growth in east Michigan fruit crops.


With three days of warm temperatures over the weekend and Monday, April 18, most fruit farms saw seven to 10 day’s worth of growth. Our season remains ahead of normal by a week or more for degree-day base 42.

I am continuing to find some cold damage to sweet and tart cherry, Japanese plum and apricot flower buds from cold morning temperatures on April 3 and April 5. Most fruit growers I talked to said they had low temperatures in the mid- to upper teens. Apricots were hardest hit, but even there I am finding a good number of viable flower buds as there are in bloom at this time.

A week ago our soils were wet. With the warmer temperatures and windy days over the last week, it has been amazing to see how quickly our soils have dried. A fair amount of tree and small fruit planting has taken place in the last few days as most soils are ready for planting.

East Michigan growing degree day totals for March 1 to April 18, 2016





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 are mostly at half-inch green to tight cluster. I expect to see first pink soon in the southern tier of counties.

Spotted tentiform leafminer adults have been flying in the last few days. I am just starting to get some redbanded leafroller trap catches in the last day or so. Some growers are currently seeing their first rain in the last week as a narrow band of showers is trailing across the state. It appears that this rain event for some growers could result in an apple scab infection period. With the dry conditions during the last week, most other growers have not needed to deal with covering for apple scab. Many growers are expecting a wetting event Thursday, April 21, and are planning to cover for apple scab tomorrow, April 20. I am expecting to see far greater numbers of apple scab spores to be released with the next wetting event.

Pear blossom buds are exposed to tight cluster. Pear psylla adults have been flying with warmer temperatures.

Peaches are mostly at first pink to a few varieties seeing some early bloom.

Sweet cherries are at open cluster to first white. I am finding some cold damage to flower buds in sweet cherries in the last week.

Tart cherries are mostly at open cluster to first white. I am finding about a quarter of the buds lost from cold damage.

Plum buds are green tip for European types and early bloom for Japanese types. I did find some cold temperature damage in Japanese plums.

Small fruits

Grapes are at early bud swell.

Strawberry leaves continue emerging from the crown. Straw mulch has been removed from most fields.

Raspberries buds are at green tip for summer fruiting types and new canes are just starting to emerge from the ground in fall raspberries.

Blueberries are at bud burst for most varieties with early varieties at early tight cluster. I did not find any cold damage in blueberries. 

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