East Michigan fruit update – July 5, 2017

Much needed rain came to Lenawee and Monroe counties. Harvest continues for sweet and tart cherries, summer red raspberries and saskatoons. Strawberry harvest continues at a few farms.


Monroe and Lenawee counties finally received over 1.5 inches of rain in the last week. Most of the rest of the region received between 0.2 and 0.5 inch of rain, most from quick showers over three or four days. A few growers reported a good amount of rain from very localized rain showers.

With rain in the last couple of weeks, soil moisture is starting to rebound. Overall, our soils remain dry. I can still see wilting in newly planted tree and small fruits.

Cooler temperatures in the last week have slowed the season down a bit more. Our season remains about four to five days ahead of normal in terms of growing degree-day (GDD) totals and the beginning of harvest of our early summer fruit crops.

More light hail was reported at a few farms in the past week. It was mostly pea-sized and slushy, thus not causing much damage to fruit.

East Michigan GDD totals for March 1 to July 4, 2017





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 in the last week on soils where moisture is adequate. They are mostly 1.875 to 2.25 inches in size. Apples have also colored well in the last week at most farms, especially McIntosh and related varieties. I saw a bit more June drop in a few varieties late last week. Hand-thinning continues in blocks on good sites and in blocks close to wind machines.

I have no new pests to report this week in apples. Woolly apple aphids were reported in late May around pruning cuts; this week, I am seeing them on terminal branches. This pest, along with San Jose scale, has been a major pest in the last few seasons in many apple blocks.

Potato leafhopper leaf cupping is visible in a few apple blocks. White apple leafhopper numbers are on the upswing, with white mottling of leaves in some blocks. Green apple aphid populations have remained high in a few blocks, with good numbers of predators feeding on them.

I am seeing a few San Jose scale crawlers. Good numbers of Japanese beetles are being seen in the last few days. Beneficial numbers continue to build, especially lady beetle larvae.

Cedar apple rust was found in wild apples this week, although I am seeing very little in well-maintained blocks. Apple scab lesions are being found on fruit. Powdery mildew symptoms continue to be found.

Pears are mostly 1.25 to 1.375 inches in size, with much of the fruit having frost marks. All stages of pear psylla are being found.

Peaches remain mostly 1.5 to 1.75 inches in size, with most growers having a good crop. Many blocks need more thinning. A few green peach aphids have been found, as well as some light amounts of peach leaf curl symptoms. I have not found any shoot flagging from oriental fruit moth, which is unusual.

Sweet cherry harvest continues for most farms and has wrapped up at others. Cherry fruit fly larvae have been reported at a few farms in the last week, mostly caused by coverage issues in the tops of tall trees.

I am still concerned about the possibility of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) infesting sweet cherries late in the harvest season. Again this week, trap catch numbers are on the rise.

Black cherry aphids are visible, mostly on suckers on the insides of trees. Birds, mostly robins and starlings, continue feeding heavily in sweet cherries. I have seen brown rot in unsprayed trees, but none in commercial blocks.

Tart cherry harvest continues across the region. There is a wider than normal range of fruit maturity this season. As with sweet cherries, I am concerned about the possibility of SWD infesting tart cherries this season.

Cherry leaf spot continues being found in most tart cherry blocks, causing leaf yellowing and premature leaf drop. Most growers have a good tart cherry crop this season.

Plums are 1 to 1.125 inches in size for European types, and Japanese varieties remain 1.5 inches in size. Some Japanese varieties have little to no crop on them this season.

Small fruits

Strawberry harvest has finished for all but a few farms across the region. Most farms had a good yield this season.

Renovation needs to begin soon. The only caveat to add is where soils are dry; I would wait for soil moisture to return to normal levels before beginning renovation. I would also put irrigation pipes back into renovated fields to irrigate shortly after renovation to help these berries rebound quickly.

Potato leafhopper populations are building in many new plantings, where leaves are starting to curl.

New plantings look tough at many farms, mainly due to neglect during the busy harvest season. New plantings need to be weeded, flower and fruit trusses removed again, runners pulled back into the row and cultivated. They continue to runner well. Watch that new berries are well-watered, as most fields are dry.

Raspberry harvest continues for summer red raspberry and now black raspberry varieties. Small berry size was a concern for early varieties, mostly due to dry soils. Fall raspberry varieties continue having good growth, with most canes 26 to 30 inches in length. The bud berries on shorter canes are now starting to form.

SWD is being caught in good numbers in traps. Control measures have started at most farms.

Blueberry fruit remain mostly 11 to 13 millimeters in size. All varieties continue to color well. Overall, we have a very nice blueberry crop this season at most farms.

Saskatoon harvest continues.

Grapes are close to berry touch for Concord types and between buckshot and berry touch-sized fruit for Vinifera types.

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