East Michigan fruit regional report – June 24, 2016

Strawberry harvest continues, with sweet cherry and summer red raspberry harvest just around the corner. Dry soils are prevalent, especially for growers north of the I-94 corridor.


Our region remains very dry; for most growers it has been between three and six weeks since receiving any significant rainfall. Our soils are very dry at most farms. Irrigation is critical for newly planted tree and small fruit crops. In the last few days, I have seen newly planted trees wilting and some have died as a result of no rainfall.

Strawberry growers that did not do a good job of irrigation the week following bloom are having a hard time with berry size for all but the first picking. With the heat of last week, our season is three to five days ahead of normal in terms of fruit crop growth stages and degree-day totals.

East Michigan growing degree day totals for March 1 to June 23, 2016





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 1.125-1.5 inches in diameter for growers along the I-69 corridor. Most blocks appear to have thinned well over the last few weeks, and but some Honeycrisp blocks have dropped too much fruit and thus may have a lighter than normal crop.

Woolly apple aphids are showing up on trunks in many apple blocks, and I am just starting to see a few on terminals. I have suggested to several growers that they might consider treating the apple crop for this pest as their populations rose to very high levels late last season, to a point where trees were defoliated in hot spots. Obliquebanded leafroller adult trap catch remains high in many blocks. European red mite adults have jumped to threshold levels in more apple blocks in the past week. Predators are starting to work to feed on them, but these blocks need watching to be sure predator numbers continue to build. Codling moth trap catch continues to be very high in non-pheromone disrupted blocks and I am starting to get some limited trap catch in pheromone disrupted blocks. I saw a few blocks this week where green apple aphid numbers are very high, even being found on fruit. Brown stink bugs are being found in greater numbers. Beneficial insects continue to be found in greater numbers.

New diseases to report this week are cedar apple rust symptoms on leaves and silver leaf symptoms on leaves. Fire blight strikes are being found in several apple blocks over the past two weeks, but mostly at low levels. Growers should do a thorough job of scouting this week for fire blight shoot strikes. Apple scab lesions continue to show up on leaves and now on a few fruit. Powdery mildew continues to be found in more apple blocks. Many terminals are completely infected now.

Honeycrisp leaf modeling is starting to be seen in many blocks.

Pears are mostly 1 to 1.25 inches in diameter.

Peaches are 1.5 inches in diameter for most growers. Hand-thinning continues. Oriental fruit moth trap catch continues at many farms. Peach leaf curl symptoms are evident in many peach blocks this season, more than I have ever seen in any season.

Sweet cherries are 21 to 24 millimeters in diameter for the largest fruit, some varieties will be ready to harvest early to mid-next week. Bird feeding has been heavy in many blocks the last week as fruit is ripening. This bird pressure is partly due to our lack of rain.

Tart cherries are mostly 15 to 18 millimeters in diameter, with fruit coloring continuing.

Plums are 20 to 23 millimeters in diameter for European types and Japanese types are approaching 1.375 inches in diameter. The crop load is variable in both types, especially in some Japanese varieties as they have little to no crop.

Small fruits

Grapes continue putting on good growth the past few weeks. Concord fruit are buckshot-sized and European varieties are in bloom. Rose chafer adults continue to be found, now in greater numbers.

Strawberry harvest continues across the region, with farms in the southern parts of the region nearing an end to harvest early next week. Strawberry growers that did not do a good job of irrigation the week following bloom are having a hard time with berry size for all but the first picking. There has been great demand for pick-your-own and ready-picked strawberries this season. It appears many growers will have a long harvest season.

Raspberry harvest is just starting for a few on the earliest summer red raspberry varieties. I am starting to see a few flower buds on the tips of fall raspberry canes.

Blueberries are 10 to 13 millimeters in diameter.

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