Southeast Michigan fruit regional report – September 2, 2014

Fall red raspberry, blueberry and Bartlett pear harvest continues. Gala, McIntosh and Honeycrisp apple and purple plum harvest is coming soon.


With the heat of the last two weeks, we have accumulated a good number of growing degree days (GDD). Our season is back to normal for GDD totals and ahead of normal to normal in terms of beginning of harvest of our fruit crops. However, with the total loss of our peach crop, which would normally be finishing up at this time, it is a bit hard to determine the beginning of harvest of our fruit crops in the past month.

Most growers received around 2 inches of rain in the past two weeks. However, the most southern tier of counties and the tip of the Thumb have missed most of the rain events of the past few weeks. Soil moisture supplies remain adequate at most fruit farms.

East Michigan GDD totals for March 1 to Sept. 1, 2014





Commerce (Oakland)




Emmett (St Clair)




Flint (Genesee)




Lapeer (Lapeer)




Petersburg (Monroe)




Pigeon (Huron)




Romeo (Macomb)




Tree fruits

Apple harvest for Paula Red, Ginger Gold and Wealthy wrapped up at most farms well over a week ago. SweeTango harvest continues, and growers are looking to possibly begin harvest of Gala, McIntosh and Honeycrisp in the next week. Samples of these three varieties will be taken today, Sept. 2, and analyzed tomorrow, with results being available on Thursday of this week. Apple fruit size and color is very good this season. Growers using Retain need to do a good job of scheduling applications three to four weeks prior to beginning of harvest. Apples appear to be developing three to four days earlier than we predicted in the predicted apple harvest dates published earlier in the season. The actual dates may be closer to normal or average.

Apples near Flint, Michigan are mostly 3 to 3.25 inches in size. Terminal growth has resumed again in a few apple varieties. Several weeks ago it appeared the terminal buds were set for the season.

I continue to have good trap catches of apple maggots, codling moths and oriental fruit moths. This concerns me and will bear close watching over the next month as most growers have stopped applying insecticides for the season. Trap catch of both codling moth and oriental fruit moth remains near zero in most pheromone-disrupted blocks.

Late-season infections of powdery mildew are being seen in a few apple blocks. This is very unusual to see powdery mildew infections this late in the season. Symptoms of sooty blotch and fly speck diseases started to show up early last week. Blister spot in Crispin (Mutsu) continues to show up at many farms.

Pears continue to size well, with most first picking of Bartell wrapping up in the next few days.

Tart cherry leaf drop from cherry leaf spot is continuing, with many trees seeing over half of their leaves yellowing and dropping to the orchard floor.

Plum harvest of early maturing European varieties continues for the few growers with a crop this season, with Stanley expected to be harvested next week. There is a fair amount of late-season brown rot being seen in purple plum varieties.

Small fruits

Grapes are continuing to color for Concord types. A few grape berry moths are continuing to be caught in traps.

Strawberry rows continue to fill out with most new fields filling out their row. I have seen several new plantings with leaf cupping from powdery mildew infection.

Raspberry harvest for fall-bearing varieties continues with an excellent crop coming along. Trap catch of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) remains steady to slowly rising at all but one of my eight trapping sites, with SWD numbers jumping to high levels at this one site. Control measures need to continue through the end of harvest. Consult control recommendations in the “Spotted Wing Drosophila Management Recommendations for Michigan Raspberry and Blackberry Growers guide at the MSU Spotted Wing Drosophila website for details.

Extreme leaf curling from powdery mildew has been seen at many raspberry farms in the past two weeks, especially in summer fruit types.

Blueberry harvest continues across the region, with many growers just starting harvest of the Elliot variety. Blueberry maggot trap catch on yellow cards continues at lower than normal levels. Trap catch of SWD continues in steady numbers at most blueberry farms. This means that control measures need to continue through the end of harvest. Consult recommendations in the “SWD Management Recommendations for Michigan Blueberry” guide at the MSU Spotted Wing Drosophila website for details. 

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