Southeast Michigan fruit regional report – April 30, 2013

Spring growth is moving along quickly for tree fruit growers in southeast Michigan.


With recent warmer temperatures, tree fruit growth is finally moving along and fairly quickly at most farms. Spraying has also begun for most tree fruit growers, with the exception of growers in the Thumb. Some planting is taking place on lighter soils.

Our season is running between one and one and a half weeks behind normal. With the warmer temperatures that are expected over the next few days, our season could catch back to normal timing. Michigan State University Extension predicts bloom in apples in the southern part of the region in eight to 10 days. I continue to see more than the typical spread in flower bud development this season in the southern tier of Michigan counties.

I continue to see some flower bud damage in the lower parts of sweet and tart cherry trees from cold temperatures on the morning of April 21. The length of the cold temperatures was for several hours. The extent of the damage is yet to be determined; time will tell if there was damage.

Most of the region received another inch of rain over the last week, adding more moisture to an already wet spring. Most soils are just starting to dry out enough that field work may begin soon.

It was a year ago yesterday (April 29, 2012) that our region and the entire state suffered the final cold event that took the remaining tree fruit crop for almost all growers. It was a sad day indeed, one that I never hope to see again.

East Michigan growing degree day totals for March 1 to April 29





Commerce (Oakland)




Emmett (St. Clair)




Flint (Genesee)




Lapeer (Lapeer)




Petersburg (Monroe)




Pigeon (Huron)




Romeo (Macomb)




Tree fruits

Apples are mostly at tight cluster in the south, 0.25 to 0.5 inches green in the Ann Arbor, Flint and Romeo, Mich., areas, and at early green tip in the Thumb. We had a normal discharge of apple scab spores at both of our spore trapping stations from the rain event of Sunday (April 28). Growers in the south had an apple scab wetting event last Tuesday (April 23) as well.

Pear buds are at green cluster in the south and bud burst in the Flint, Mich., area. Pear psylla adults continue to fly on warmer days.

Peaches are at early bloom in the south and at calyx red in the Flint, Mich., area. Growers continue to prune peaches. Fruit bud numbers are very high this year with good winter survival, following last year’s light crop. Apricots are in bloom in the south.

Sweet cherries are mostly at early white bud in the south and swollen bud in the Flint, Mich., area.

Tart cherries at bud burst in the Flint, Mich., area.

Plums are mostly at green cluster for European types, with Japanese types at early white bud.

Small fruits

Strawberry leaves continue to emerge from the crown. I found two strawberry clippers yesterday in strawberries. It is too early to control them.

Raspberries are at 1 inch of new growth for summer-bearing types. Canes of fall-bearing types are slow to emerge since cold temperatures on April 21, burning the new growth back to the ground.

Blueberries are still at bud swell to early green tip on a few early varieties; they have not developed much in the last week.

Grapes are at early bud swell; they have been very slow to show signs of growth this season.

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