East Michigan fruit regional report – May 10, 2016

With cooler temperatures over the last week, our season is back to normal for our bloom dates.


Cooler temperatures early and mid-week last week and then warmer temperatures over the weekend continued the “go slow or go really fast” pace of our strange spring of 2016. At this time, our season is back to “normal” in terms of bloom time for apples, but we are still a few days ahead of normal in terms of degree-day totals. Based on the 10-day forecast, it appears this “on again and off again” season will continue.

Most of our region has experienced two rain events this past week, bringing only a few tenths of an inch of rain. Our soils are generally dry at this time.

East Michigan growing degree day totals for March 1 to May 9, 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 at full bloom for growers south of the I-69 corridor and king bloom to the north, with the exception of growers close to Lakes Erie or Huron, who are much further behind. There is not the usually spread of bloom time from south to north this season. We have had an unusually long bloom in apples this season, with several good windows of prime pollination weather. Honey bees, bumble bees and native pollinators have been very active over the last week during windows with warmer temperatures. There is some inconsistency in bloom times from tree to tree, especially with Honeycrisp. This will make thinning especially challenging this season.

New pests to report this week in apples include seeing very few small larvae of obliquebanded leafroller and fruittree leafroller, as well as even fewer rosy apple aphids and green apple aphids. Oriental fruit moth trap catch continues to rise, with a few farms close to biofix. Redbanded leafroller and spotted tentiform leafminer adult trap catch has leveled off or declined this past week. Apple growers will need to be on the lookout over the next 10 days for plum curculio and mullein bugs, and need to be ready to apply an “early” petal fall spray when petals drop. Some seasons with long bloom periods can catch growers off guard with insect damage. Beneficials are starting to be found, including lacewings and syrphid flies.

With one wetting event this past week at my apple scab spore trapping location, I continue catching apple scab spores in higher numbers. I caught 295 spores on the spore rods; this is a good number for my site. Most of our Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations recorded two wetting events this past week with most stations recording one apple scab infection period. Most growers have applied another fungicide cover this past week to control apple scab.

With bloom in apples, growers need to be concerned about fire blight infections, especially where fire blight was a problem last season. The MSU Enviro-weather website has a great MaryBlyt tool to determine fire blight infection events. Growers also need to be on the lookout for oozing fire blight cankers where it was a problem last season. It is time to make the first Apogee applications to help reduce growth of new terminals that will lessen the spread of fire blight in rapidly growing shoots.

Many apple blocks have been invaded with large patches of Canada thistle in the past few seasons. MSU Extension advises growers that now is the time to make spot applications of selective herbicides to control this pesky perennial weed. Herbicides such as Stinger, Spur or the newer Starane Ultra have been effective in controlling Canada thistle.

Pears are early full bloom. Pear psylla adults continue flying.

Peaches are in the shuck. Oriental fruit moth trap catch continues to be seen. Most growers have a good crop of peaches this season.

Sweet cherries have been at full bloom for over a week. Most growers have applied another cover for brown rot control.

Tart cherries are at full bloom.

Plums are at petal fall for European types and Japanese types are mostly in the shuck with a few early flowering varieties at early shuck split.

Small fruits

Grapes are at bud burst for Concord and European varieties.

Strawberries are at 20 percent bloom in the south and early bloom at the ends of rows for most others. Flower trusses and new leaves continue emerging from the crown. Again this week most fields look completely different as a result of rapid leaf growth. Most strawberry growers have not needed to frost-protect in the last week.

Raspberry leaves continue emerging from the bud for summer fruiting types with a few flower buds just beginning to emerge on early fruiting varieties. New canes continue emerging from the ground in fall raspberries; the longest canes are 4-6 inches in length.

Blueberries are at early bloom for early varieties with most varieties at early pink bud. I have not found any signs of mummy berry mummies on the ground yet this season.

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