Northwest Michigan fruit regional report – April 15, 2014

Sap is flowing, but trees and vines remain dormant in this cool weather.

Weather report

Growing degree days (GDDs) are continuing to slowly accumulate in the northwest region (Table 1). At the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC), we have observed daily minimum temperatures ranging from 21.7 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and daily maximum temperatures of 38 to 55.2 F since our last report two weeks ago. We have accumulated 39 GDD base 42 and 7 GDD base 50.

Current GDD accumulation at the NWMHRC is higher compared to this time last year (17 GDD base 42 and 1 GDD base 50), which seems unlikely given the duration of the winter conditions. However, both 2013 and 2014 GDD accumulations are lower than the NWMHRC 24-yr average of 113.3 GDD base 42 and 43.8 base 50 on this date.

MSU Enviro-weather station location



Bear Lake (Manistee)



Benzonia (Benzie)



East Leland (Leelanau)



Eastport (Antrim)



Elk Rapids (Antrim)



Kewadin (Antrim)



Northport (Leelanau)



Old Mission (Grand Traverse)



NWMHRC (Leelanau)



Prior to yesterday’s (April 14) cold temperatures and snowfall, slightly warmer temperatures had hastened melting of snow cover and the ground was visible in much of the region. Thawing of Grand Traverse Bay is evident and we have observed open water along a stretch of M-22 between Suttons Bay, Mich., and Grielickville, Mich. Just as our hopes of spring’s long anticipated arrival raised, cold air moving in from the northwest brought lake effect snow yesterday. This cool air will continue to bring temperatures that are abnormally low for this time of year into late April in the northwest region and across the state. Additional snowfall is predicted for tonight and potentially into tomorrow.

Crop report

Although temperatures were slightly warmer over the last week, fruit trees and vines continue to remain dormant. Michigan State University Extension educators have received additional reports from growers regarding damage on peaches due to cold temperatures. It is still too soon to determine the extent of damage on peaches at this time. The status of damage in tart and sweet cherries remains the same; we have had some reports of bud damage in young sweet cherry orchards, and no cold damage to apples has been reported. Recent cold temperatures may have an impact on damage, but likely very little as most trees are still dormant.

Rodent damage continues to be of primary concern to growers. Snow cover melted in the last week and has revealed severe rodent damage that is widespread in tree fruit orchards across the region. Soils are saturated in most orchards and there have been reports of flooding in the five northwest counties. Growers are still pruning, but most brush remains in the orchard due to wet soil.

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