Southeast Michigan fruit regional report – April 2, 2013

Slow start to spring welcomed by southeast Michigan fruit growers.

Weather

The slow, spring warm up of the 2013 growing season is a total opposite of the 2012 early spring season. Our growing degree day (GDD) totals are slightly behind the seasonal norms. Last season, most of our Enviro-weather stations were reporting around 175 GDD base 50 at this time of the year (as of April 2), and this season most are reporting single digit numbers. Also, at this time last season, tree fruit growers had sprayed three times and were beginning to move in honeybee hives as apples were nearing bloom. Many farm ponds still have a layer of ice on them and there are still a few piles of snow.

Soil moisture supplies are adequate and much improved over generally dry soils going into winter. I have not seen any field work in fruit crops other than pruning and brush chopping as soils are too wet to begin planting operations.

Southeast Michigan growing degree day totals for March 1 to April 1

Location

GDD42

GDD45

GDD50

Commerce (Oakland)

24

15

4

Emmett (St. Clair)

24

15

5

Flint (Genesee)

35

23

9

Lapeer (Lapeer)

35

23

9

Petersburg (Monroe)

36

24

11

Pigeon (Huron)

18

9

2

Romeo (Macomb)

28

18

6


Tree fruits

All are mostly dormant to slightly swollen bud on a few early varieties. I have not seen silver tip in apples. Growers are considering beginning dormant oil applications next week as warmer weather is forecast. Michigan State University Extension says peach leaf curl spays need to be made soon.

Apple growers have made great progress on their pruning this winter. Most of the brush has been chopped. In fact, many growers are looking at the huge crop of fruit buds and have decided to go back over some blocks to remove a bit more wood. Growers are beginning to prune stone fruits.

Small fruits

Strawberries are mostly dormant to just a few leaves emerging from the crown on early sites. It will be at least another week before growers will even begin to consider straw mulch removal.

Raspberries are dormant. Most growers have mowed off the canes of fall red raspberries.

Blueberries are dormant. Most growers have made good progress on pruning in the last few weeks.

Grapes are dormant.

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