East Michigan fruit report – June 27, 2017

Sweet and tart cherry harvest is starting. Summer red raspberry and saskatoon harvest continues. Strawberry harvest continues across the mid and northern parts of the region.


Most farms received good rainfall in the past week, however precipitation totals have been extremely variable over short distances, ranging from 0.5 inch to over 10 inches. This being said, the southern tier of counties have not had a good rain event since May 4, so soils there remain very dry. Most of our Michigan State University Enviroweather weather stations recorded some precipitation in five to six of the last seven days.

With rain in the last week, soil moisture has started to rebound, except for the southern counties. Growers there have been devoting a great amount of time irrigating fruit crops over the past six weeks, especially newly planted tree and small fruit crops.

Cooler temperatures in the last few days has slowed the season down a bit, however our season remains about a week ahead of normal in terms of degree-day totals and the beginning of harvest of our early summer fruit crops.

A light amount of hail was reported at a few farms in the past week, it was mostly pea sized.

East Michigan GDD totals for March 1 to June 26, 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 are mostly 1.5 to 1.875 inches in size. Apples took on a nice growth sprit in the last few days at farms that received rain in the past week. June drop appears to have slowed in the past week in most varieties. Hand-thinning continues in blocks on good sites and in blocks close to wind machines.

Apple curculio has been found in a few apple blocks in the last few days and is a new pest to repot this week. However, apples are far enough along that egglaying will most likely not occur. A few Japanese beetles are starting to be seen, also a new pest to report this week. The first sighting of potato leafhopper adults was reported last week, and in some apple blocks their populations have built quickly in the past week.

Leaf cupping is apparent in a few apple blocks. White apple leafhopper numbers have sharply increased in the past week as well, with white mottling of leaves just starting to be seen. Green apple aphid populations have remained high in some blocks, with good numbers of predators commonly observed feeding on them.

I am seeing a few San Jose scale crawlers. We are at peak codling moth egg hatch, with adult trap catch on the decline again this week. I found one brown marmorated stink bug on a trap in an apple block yesterday. Good numbers of beneficials are being seen this week, especially lady beetle larva and adults and lacewings.

A few fire blight strikes are being seen, all from trauma blight. This is a new disease to report this week. Most of the suspected fire blight strikes this season were either nectria twig blight or wind-damaged twigs. Cedar apple rust continues to be found in apples this week, although I am seeing very little in well-maintained blocks. I am seeing a great deal of it in wild apple trees and other related species. Apple scab lesions are just now starting to be found on fruit. Powdery mildew symptoms continue to be found.

Pears are mostly 1.125 to 1.25 inches size. It is hard to find any pears in most blocks due to loss from frost. The little fruit that remains is scared with frost marks and rings. All stages of pear psylla continue to be found.

Peaches remain mostly 1.375 to 1.625 inches in size, with most growers having a good crop. I have seen several peach blocks that need to be thinned again, for some growers this will be the third time through to thin peaches. 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.

Sweet cherry harvest is underway at most farms. There is a wider than normal range of fruit maturity this season. Cherry fruit fly larvae have been reported at one farm in the last day, I will get to that farm tomorrow to confirm this. It is really early to see this pest.

I am concerned about the possibility of spotted wing Drosophila infesting sweet cherries this season. In the past week we have had good spotted wing Drosophila trap catch numbers. Black cherry aphids continue to be seen, mostly on suckers on the insides of trees. Birds, mostly robins and starlings, continue to feed heavily in sweet cherries. I have seen brown rot in unsprayed trees in the past week, but none in commercial blocks.  

Tart cherry harvest started in the past few days at a few farms. Fruit colored very quickly in the past week. There is a wider than normal range of fruit maturity this season. As with sweet cherries, I am concerned about the possibility of spotted wing Drosophila infesting tart cherries this season. Cherry leaf spot continues to be found in most tart cherry blocks, causing leaf yellowing and premature leaf drop. Most growers report that they have a good tart cherry crop this season.

Plums are at 23 to 25 millimeters in size for European types and Japanese types are at 1.5 inches in size. Some Japanese varieties have little to no crop on them this season.

Small fruits

Strawberry harvest finished over the weekend for growers in the south and continues for most growers to the north. Many of these growers think that they will finish harvest over the weekend. The cooler temperatures have slowed berry ripening.

Potato leafhopper populations are quickly building in many strawberry fields, especially new plantings where leaves are starting to curl. Gray mold is being seen in a few strawberry fields. Sap beetle and slug damage is being found in more strawberry fields this week.

For farms that have finished harvest, renovation can start anytime now. The only caveat to add however is where soils are dry. Michigan State University Extension recommends waiting for soil moisture to return to normal levels before beginning renovation. I would also put irrigation pipe back in to renovated fields to irrigate shortly after renovation to help these berries rebound quickly.

New plantings look tough at many farms, mainly due to neglect during the busy harvest season. New planting needs to be weeded, flower and fruit trusses removed again, runners pulled back into the row and cultivated. They continue to runner well. Watch that new berries are well watered, as most fields are dry.

Raspberry harvest continues for summer red raspberry varieties. Small berry size was a concern for early varieties, mostly due to dry soils. Fall raspberry varieties continue to have good growth, with most canes being 24 inches to 26 inches in length. The bud berries on shorter canes are now starting to form. Spotted wing Drosophila is being caught in good numbers in traps. Control measures will need to start this week for this most troublesome pest.

Blueberry fruit remain mostly 11 to 12 millimeters in size. All varieties have colored well in the past week. Most varieties have finally started to produce more leaf growth. Overall, we have a very nice blueberry crop this season at most farms.

Saskatoon harvest continues, with the few growers having saskatoon’s having a nice crop, with no winter injury or frost damage.

Grapes are between buckshot and berry touch sized fruit for concord types with 36 inches of new growth. 

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