East Michigan fruit update – April 7, 2020

With warmer temperatures over the last week, green tissue is starting to be seen on a few fruit crops. Dry soils have allowed some planting to begin.


Warmer temperatures over the last week have brought on some green tissue in a few apple varieties and saskatoons. Most fruit are at late bud swell. The sod in orchards has started to green up nicely and with dry soils at many farms, planting of tree and small fruit crops has begun. Herbicide applications are being made in many fruit crops. Growers have been getting sprayers out and calibrated for the season. Pruning continues in many fruit crops.

Our season is running about normal in terms of growth stages and degree day totals at most of our Michigan State University Enviroweather stations in east Michigan. This can shift around quickly in springtime. Cooler nighttime temperatures have been a nice trend to hold back spring bud development. Yesterday, April 6, the Deerfield and Flint Enviroweather stations were the first to break into the triple digit totals for base 42-degree days. Temperatures are predicted to be cooler for the next 10 days. This will slow growth down considerably.

East Michigan growing degree day (GDD) totals for March 1 to April 6, 2020





Commerce (Oakland County)




Deerfield (Monroe County)




Emmett (St Clair County)




Flint (Genesee County)




Freeland (Saginaw County)




Lapeer (Lapeer County)




Pigeon (Huron County)




Romeo (Macomb County)




Tree fruits

Apples are mostly at late bud swell, with Ginger Gold, Zestar, Macs and Idared at first green tip. Most growers have been seeing a good crop of flower buds as they have been pruning. Growers are continuing to prune apples with a good amount of brush chopping being done. For growers that have had high infestations of San Jose scale in the last few seasons, consider horticultural oil applications at this time.

Pears are at bud swell.

Peaches are at bud swell with a few varieties at early calyx green. Peaches have a good amount of flower buds with little to no twig winter die back.

Sweet cherries are at late bud swell with no green tissue showing. Flower buds appear to be in good shape in terms of little to no winter injury.

Tart cherries are at bud swell.

Plums are at silver tip for European varieties with Japanese varieties at green tip.

Small fruits

Strawberry leaves are continuing to emerge from the crown, but the leaves are still small and slightly yellowed. Winter annual weeds and grasses have greened up well in strawberries. I would wait to remove straw until the predicted upcoming colder temperatures are behind us.

Raspberry canes are just starting to emerge from the soil for fall bearing raspberries with summer raspberries at late bud swell.

Blueberries are at bud swell with just a few of the earliest buds at early green tip. Pruning continues in blueberries.

Saskatoons are at green tip to full green with an excellent crop of flower buds coming along.

Grapes are at early bud swell. Pruning is nearly complete in many vineyards.

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