Northwest Michigan fruit regional report – April 2, 2013

Cold temperatures remain across northwest Michigan. A pruning tour is planned for high density sweet cherries on April 4.

As expected with a more normal start to this spring, things are very quiet in the north. Orchard floors in most areas of the region are still covered with snow and small amounts of snow has continued to fall over the past few days. Growing degree day accumulations (GDD) are markedly different, thankfully, from 2012. This season, we have accumulated 11 GDD base 42 and no accumulations base 50; last season, we had already accumulated 281GDD base 42 and 162 GDD base 50 by April 1. This year is also behind our 22-year average, where accumulations were an average of 61 GDD base 42 and 22 GDD base 50. So far this season we have accumulated 1,274 chilling hours here at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRS).

Growers are busy pruning and preparing for the season. The continued cold weather is adding to the optimism for a great 2013.

High Density Pruning Demonstration Tour: April 4

Michigan State University Extension is hosting an informal, but rigorous, high density sweet cherry pruning demonstration that will take place in northwest Michigan this Thursday, April 4. Greg Lang from MSU’s Department of Horticulture will be coming up from campus to show us the best strategies for pruning various systems of high density sweets.

The day will be a long one, but we will be able to see many different ages of trees and training systems at each of the farms. We will be caravanning from one site to another, so growers can join in at the various stops on the tour; we will try to keep on schedule as best as we are able with this tour. We will have sandwiches available for lunch here at the NWMHRS stop, and we ask that growers please call the station if you plan to eat lunch with us: 231-946-1510.

7:30 a.m. – Meet at NWMHRS, 6686 S. Center Highway, Traverse City, MI 49684 (view map), to travel to Williams Orchards

8-9:30 a.m. – Williams Orchards, 9360 S. Novak Rd., Maple City, MI 49664 (view map)

9:30 a.m. – Travel to Bardenhagen Berries

10-11 a.m.Bardenhagen Berries, 7990 E. Horn Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653 (view map)

11 a.m. – Travel to Jim Bardenhagen Farm

11:10-12:10 p.m. – Jim Bardenhagen Farm, 7881 E. Pertner Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 (view map)

12:10 p.m. – Travel to NWMHRS

12:30-1 p.m. – LUNCH

1-1:45 p.m. – Prune high density sweet cherries: UFO, KGB, Slender Axe, Tall Spindle Axe

1:45-2:30 p.m. – Prune high density tart cherries: Gisela 3, 5, 6, Maheleb, and own root—bush and central leader

2:30-3:15 p.m. – Travel to King Orchards

3:15-4 p.m. – King Orchards, 4620 N M-88 Central Lake, MI 49622 (view map)

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