East Michigan fruit update

The spring that never comes – we are still two weeks behind normal.

Weather

Our season continues to run behind normal, and at this time we are almost two weeks behind normal as I look at degree day totals from most of our ag weather reporting stations across east Michigan. As I look at the fruit bud development stages, I think that we are well over a week behind normal. Cold morning temperatures have been the thing that has continued to put the brakes on this 2011 growing season.

Some growers have been able to plant tree fruits and small fruits over the last week, particularly in the southern part of the region. Most, however, are waiting for soils to dry before they can get on with the task of planting fruit for the year. For the most part our soils remain wet. Part of this is caused by a combination of moderate rainfall (most had about a third of an inch of rain over the last week) and more importantly lack of heating. I expect that once we get warmer temperatures, soils will dry enough for tree and small fruit planting to take place in the next week. Many peach growers have stopped pruning due to continued cold temperatures. I expect growers should be able to commence pruning late this week or early next week if warmer temperatures actually develop.

Southeast Michigan Growing Degree Day Totals for March 1 to April 19, 2011
Location GDD42 GDD45 GDD50
Commerce (Oakland) 95 67 39
Emmett (St Clair) 90 62 35
Flint (Genesee) 106 76 44
Lapeer (Lapeer) 101 72 42
Petersburg (Monroe) 129 93 55
Pigeon (Huron) 70 50 30
Romeo (Macomb) 93 65 38

Get more weather data at http://www.enviroweather.msu.edu

Tree fruits

Apples are at green tip for the southern part of the region and just a few varieties in the mid part of east Michigan are beginning to show green tissue, most notably Idared. With one or two warm days I think that all apples in the Flint area will be at green tip rather quickly.

I have not seen any insect activity as of yet in apples. With rain last Saturday and Sunday (April 16-17), most of our weather stations reported the first apple scab wetting event for the season. Most growers in the south applied their first fungicides for early apple scab control and growers in the mid part of the region made a selective application of fungicides only on varieties that were showing green tip at the time.

Pears are not showing any green tissue, but are very close with large plump buds. A few pear psylla were seen flying late last week.

Peaches continue to see moderate amount of bud swell with no green tissue.

Sweet cherry buds are very plump with no green tissue as of yet.

Tart cherry buds have moved along a great deal in this past week, however no green tissue is visible as of yet.

Plum buds continue to swell.

Small Fruit

Strawberries at most farms were uncovered over the last week. I am starting to see some growth of some new leaves; however it was a bit hard to tell yesterday with snow covering most of the strawberry farms that I visited.

Raspberry buds are swelling for summer fruiting raspberries. Canes are slowly emerging from the soil for fall bearing raspberries.

Blueberry buds are very large; however I did not see any green tissue as of yesterday. Several growers are reporting mummy berry mushrooms being seen at farms across the region.

Grapes are just beginning to see some early stages of bud swelling. Wine grapes are showing some severe signs of cane death due to winter injury. I have not seen any bud growth close to the base of the vines; I will be looking for this over the next two weeks or so.

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