West Central Michigan weather and fruit crop development

We have a continued pattern of cool and wet with little vegetation development.

The past two weeks were cool and wet. The high temperatures were generally from low 40’s to mid 50’s with an exception of yesterday (April 25) when the temperature reached mid-60’s. Low’s were from low 30’s to 40 degree range. Precipitation came as snow and as rainfall. A few inches of snow and near or below freezing temperatures did not cause any damage to the fruit trees. Rainfall totals were not as high as in southern parts of the state but adequate to keep the soils moist.

Tree fruit

During this two-week period the vegetation development was almost non-existent. Sweet cherries are from side green-to-green tip depending on cultivar. Tart cherries are at side-green stage of bud development. Plums are at side green. Apples are from quarter-inch in the southern and eastern parts of the district to green tip closer to the Lake and going north. Pears are at swollen bud. Peaches are in bud swell. At this stage of bud development fruit trees will tolerate temperatures in mid to lower 20’s without significant damage.

West Central Michigan Growing Degree Day Totals Since March 1, 2011

As of Monday, April 25

Location   DD42    DD45   DD50 Rain last week Rain since April 1
Hart 129 90 48 1.08 2.49
Ludington 121 85 45 0.95 2.61
Bear Lake 121 85 45 0.91 2.7


No major insect activity as of yet. Just a sporadic pear psylla was enjoying the nice sunny day yesterday.


The rain of April 16-18 brought on the first apple spore discharge. Up to this point, rain events since than did not result in apple scab infections. This is about to change. Weather forecast is predicting that the current wetting event is likely to last through today and part of tomorrow. The circumstances are right for the first infection to develop. It appears that the rain will exceed 1 inch, compromising the cover applications prior to this wetting event. If that happens, there are a few options (Indar 2F, Syllit 65%W, Inspire Super MP) for arresting the infection in progress.

Check hour-by-hour weather and disease development by visiting our Enviro-Weather.

Growers are advised to be on the lookout for root rot and collar rot (Phytopthora sp.) this spring. Long-term weather forecast is indicating above normal precipitation favoring disease development. Another disease that is accentuated by wet and cool spring is bacterial canker (Pseudomonas syringae). Orchards that sustained winter injury will particularly be prone to it.

More information about early insect and disease control is posted at the MSU Extension News for Agriculture website.

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