East Michigan fruit regional report – September 6, 2016

Apple harvest for Gala and early maturing McIntosh strains are just getting underway at most farms.


Rainfall totals for east Michigan have varied greatly over the last two weeks, ranging from 0.5 to 2.3 inches. While most farms have adequate soil moisture supplies, growers have started to irrigate again if their farms missed significant rain, mainly on apples, fall red raspberries and grapes, due to dry soils.

Our season continues to be very warm with above-average temperatures for most of the season. Thus, degree-day totals are quickly building. We are nearly 14 days ahead of normal for growing degree-day (GDD) totals and five days ahead of normal for the beginning of harvest for our fruit crops.

East Michigan GDD totals for March 1 to Sept. 5, 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 have sized well over the last two weeks; they have benefited greatly from the moisture supplies that finally came in mid-August. Growers have started to spot-pick Gala and even a few early maturing McIntosh strains. Fruit color has improved with cooler nighttime temperatures and the sunburn issues with Paula Red, Ginger Gold and even Zestar do not appear to be issue with Gala and McIntosh. Some McIntosh drop is taking place, but most of the dropped fruit is being pushed off. Growers are continuing Retain applications. Many growers are reporting bird feeding injury in many varieties of apples this season, mostly from crows and wild turkeys in the lower parts of the tree. Fruit finish is good to excellent this season.

Apple maggot trap catch on yellow sticky traps has been high in most blocks over the last two weeks. Many growers applied a later than normal border insecticide application to protect Empire and later maturing apple varieties. Codling moth trap catch for the second generation adult flight has dropped back again this week week. Oriental fruit moth trap catch is up again this week; this is the third generation adult flight. European red mite and twospotted spider mite numbers have generally been dropping back over the past two weeks. Brown marmorated stink bug trap catch continues at one trapping location in the Flint area. Michigan State University Extension advises growers to be on the lookout for them throughout harvest. Beneficial numbers are building, with good numbers of minute pirate bugs and lacewing.

Sooty blotch and flyspeck disease symptoms were seen for the first time yesterday, Sept. 5, while I was collecting samples for the MSU Extension Apple Maturity Project. Black rot symptoms are apparent in more apple blocks, with some Gala and Honeycrisp blocks being hard hit.

Pear harvest for Bartlett is complete at most farms. Pear psylla numbers are high on suckers in untreated blocks.

Peach harvest is wrapping up later this week at most farms. Fruit size improved dramatically for the end of the season varieties.

Sweet cherry and tart cherry leaf drop has slowed after soil moisture supplies were replenished.

Plum harvest is nearly complete for European types. Fruit size improved from the increase in soil moisture supplies.

Small fruits

Grape fruit growth is very strong now that we received rainfall. Concord fruit are continuing veraison and some of the early season wine grape varieties will start harvest later this week.

Strawberries have filled the row in renovated fields and newly planted fields. Potato leafhopper populations are building in untreated fields, especially in new plantings. Now is good timing for a late-season herbicide application in renovated fields.

Raspberry harvest continues in fall red raspberries. Berry size has improved greatly once we started getting regular precipitation. Blackberry harvest is continuing. Growers are pruning fruiting canes or floricanes in summer red and black raspberries, and cane tipping is continuing in black raspberry and blackberries.

Spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) trap catch continues to be very strong in fall raspberries. Many farms have had small SWD larvae in fruit and have stopped harvest for a few weeks while they bring populations under control. Growers should continue protecting all bramble crops on a weekly basis for SWD infestation and when rainfall washes off spray residue, applications should be made more often than seven days. More details on SWD life cycle, control strategies and specific insecticide recommendations can be found at the MSU Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

Blueberry harvest is winding down at most farms.

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