East Michigan fruit regional report – June 28, 2016

Soils are very dry, creating drought stress in tree and small fruits. Strawberry harvest has finished in southern parts of our region, and sweet and tart cherry and summer red raspberry harvest is getting underway.


Dry soils are prevalent over almost the entire region. Some growers have not had a significant rain event for the last three weeks, but for most it has been over six weeks. Growers are devoting a great deal of time to irrigation activities. Irrigation is critical at this time for newly planted tree and small fruit crops. This week I have seen newly planted tree and small fruit wilting and some trees have died as a result of lack of rainfall.

A very few fortunate growers did get a quick rain shower last Wednesday night or Thursday morning, June 22-23, bringing only a tenth of an inch of rain and, unfortunately, sharp hail to a few. Another narrow band of showers also brought almost a half-inch of rain on Sunday afternoon, June 25, to other growers.

Our season is five to seven 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 27, 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 1.5 to 1.625 inches in diameter for growers in the southern parts of the region, and 1.375 inches in for orchards along the I-69 corridor. Many blocks have thinned well in the last few weeks; however, some have dropped too much fruit and growers are thinking they over-thinned. Many Honeycrisp and Red Delicious blocks have dropped too much fruit and will have a lighter than normal crop. Hand-thinning continues in a few varieties. Honeycrisp leaf modeling is being seen in many blocks.

San Jose scale crawlers are now being found across the region; they started crawling late last week. Woolly apple aphids continue to be found in higher numbers, mostly on tree trunks and at pruning scars, but a few are starting to show up on terminals. The window of control is starting to close for this pest. Twospotted spider mites are being found for the first time this season in a few apple blocks. European red mite adults remain at or above threshold levels in more apple blocks in the past week. Obliquebanded leafroller adult trap catch remains high in many blocks. Codling moth trap catch continues to be very high in many blocks, although trap catch is much lower in pheromone disrupted blocks. Green apple aphid numbers are very high on leaves in several blocks, they are even being found on fruit. White apple leafhopper numbers are starting to build in many blocks. Beneficial numbers continue to build, and new predators this week include velvet mites and black hunter thrips.

Fire blight strikes continue in low numbers. The strikes appear to have stopped moving down the shoot. Powdery mildew is being seen in more apple blocks. Cedar apple rust and silver leaf symptoms continue in low numbers in just a few apple blocks.

Pears are mostly 1.25 to 1.375 inches in diameter. Pear psylla numbers are quickly building on suckers.

Peaches remain at 1.5 to 1.625 inches in diameter for most growers. Hand-thinning continues. Rose chafer adults have been causing some cat facing to peaches in the past few days. Oriental fruit moth trap catch continues to be seen at many farms. Peach leaf curl symptoms continue to be seen in many peach blocks this season.

Sweet cherry harvest is underway at most farms. Despite dry soils, fruit has continued to size well. Bird feeding has been heavy in most blocks this last week, mostly related to our lack of rain.

Tart cherry harvest has started for growers in the southern parts of our region and will begin in a few days for the rest of the region. Fruit is ripening quickly with all the heat in the past week. As with sweet cherries, bird feeding is an issue in tarts this season.

Plums are at 21 to 24 millimeters in diameter for European types and Japanese types are approaching 1.375 inches in diameter. The crop load is variable for both types, especially in some Japanese varieties, as they have little to no crop.

Small fruits

Grapes continue putting on good growth. Concord fruit are nearing berry touch and European varieties are at buckshot. Rose chafer numbers continue to build. I am seeing a few small grape berry moth larvae feeding in Concord grape.

Strawberry harvest has wrapped up for growers in the southern reaches of the region and continues for a few more days for other growers to the north. Most growers report having a longer than normal harvest season. Renovation has begun for a few growers. Michigan State University Extension encourage growers to water well as soon as the renovation process is complete. There has been great demand for pick-your-own and ready-picked strawberries this season. Strawberry sap beetle are starting to be a problem on some farms. I am just starting to see a few new plantings with curled leaves from potato leafhopper feeding.

Raspberry harvest has started for a few of the earliest summer red raspberry varieties. Fall red raspberry canes are much shorter this season than most years, and are much shorter than last season’s unusually long canes. I am starting to see a few flower buds on the tips of fall raspberry canes.

Blueberries are 10 to 15 millimeters in diameter with no berry coloring. 

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