Southeast Michigan fruit regional report – August 28, 2012

High spotted wing Drosophila trap catch continues and apple harvest is in full swing for the few growers with a crop.


Soil moisture supplies continue to be challenge at many farms as the signs of drought stress are starting to reappear after a short break at many fruit farms across the region. Although the degree of wilting leaves is not as severe as it was a few weeks ago, signs of drought stress are back.

Our early, warm season is still running about two weeks ahead of normal in terms of growth stages, and more than three weeks ahead of normal in terms of growing degree day (GDD) totals.

East Michigan Growing Degree Day Totals for March 1 to August 27, 2012





Commerce (Oakland)




Emmett (St Clair)




Flint (Genesee)




Lapeer (Lapeer)




Petersburg (Monroe)




Pigeon (Huron)




Romeo (Macomb)




Tree fruits

Apple harvest is underway at the few farms that have a crop. Gala are ready and have been harvested, and McIntosh are not far behind. Where there is a crop, harvest is very slow because the crop is so light and spread out, so this makes harvest much more expensive than most years. There are many farms where apple quality is a problem, mostly due to freeze damage, resulting in many small, misshapen fruit. Fruit size has stalled at many farms due to drought stress.

Apple maggot trap catch continues and will do so for the rest of the fall. However, we are at a point of the season where apple maggot will go into diapause and, therefore, will no longer be a concern. Codling moth trap catch has remained very low and steady. I am still perplexed as to what is going on with codling moth flight and trap catch this season. I had a very strong early trap catch, in fact record numbers at most farms, and then trap catch has been nonexistent for the last eight weeks.

Peach harvest of late season varieties is finishing up. Leaf yellowing and drop continues in trees that do not have a crop. A few blocks have so little foliage left that it looks more like late fall in terms of the degree of foliage remaining.

Small fruits

Strawberry fields that were renovated are finally looking more normal in terms of leaf growth, with the exception that there are lots on weedy strawberry fields this summer.

Raspberry harvest on fall bearing varieties is finally ramping up at most farms. However, most farms still need several days of ripening before they can come back for the next picking. Spotted wing Drosophila trap catch continues to climb at many farms with a few growers starting to see wormy berries. Growers need to use their trap catch numbers as an indication of their presence and to base control strategies on.

There are two grower meeting scheduled for this Thursday (August 30) in east Michigan to teach raspberry and blueberry growers spotted wing Drosophila trapping and identification techniques and to discuss control methods. See Spotted wing Drosophila meetings scheduled for August 30 in east Michigan for more details.

Blueberry harvest is wrapping up at most farms. Spotted wing Drosophila infested fruit were an issue in the last week at a few farms. Growers still picking need to be concerned about monitoring traps closely for spotted wing Drosophila trap catch.

Grapes are well colored at most farms.

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