MSU fruit research center to host open house, public forum

The MSU Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC) will host its annual open house Aug. 22 beginning at 1 p.m.

MSU apple tree

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.The MSU Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC) will host its annual open house Aug. 22 beginning at 1 p.m.

The event will begin with “What’s Now? What’s Next?”, an open forum where attendees will have a chance to discuss MSU research and extension efforts within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Attendees will have the chance to provide input on how the CANR can continue to help move Michigan agriculture forward through research, education and outreach.

The following individuals will be in attendance to answer questions:

  • Fred Poston, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Doug Buhler, director of MSU AgBioResearch.
  • Tom Coon, director of MSU Extension.
  • Kelly Millenbah, associate dean of academic and student affairs.
  • Mark Burnham, MSU vice president for governmental affairs.

“Combining the meeting with the annual open house gives people who are invested in MSU research – stakeholders, alumni and growers – a chance to meet with the CANR leaders and talk about what’s going on and what will happen in the future,” said Patrick Cudney, district coordinator for MSU Extension.

There will be free tree fruit and wine grape educational tours, along with wagon tours featuring research sessions with MSU specialists and researchers.

George Sundin, MSU professor of plant pathology, will talk about tart cherry disease management.

“It can be hard sometimes to tell whether the application is effective or whether fungicide resistance has affected a crop,” Sundin said. “I plan to use the research plots to demonstrate topics such as  fungicide application practices and timings. Applying fungicides correctly and at the proper time can greatly reduce selection for fungicide resistance and increase crop quality and yield.

 “I will also be discussing European brown rot, which has seriously affected Montmorency tart cherries this year,” he said. “There are some new control measures and tips that the growers should really know about for next season.”

Beth Bishop, MSU Enviro-weather coordinator, will present information on the weather project.

“Enviro-weather provides online, weather-based information to help Michigan agricultural producers manage pests, diseases and crops,” Bishop said. “Enviro-weather’s 78 automated weather stations continually monitor and record weather data.”

Growers in Michigan rely on the weather service to help control apple scab, fireblight, cherry leaf spot, codling moth, oblique-banded leaf roller, and many other pests and diseases.

“Enviro-weather tools and applications help growers decide when to spray and when not to spray,and be aware whether a frost might occur and what the soil conditions are, among other things,” she said.

Ron Perry, MSU professor of horticulture, will speak about high-density tart cherry orchards.  He will also discuss hedging and pruning treatments involved with this experiment, and the comparative evaluation of Montmorency and new compact tart cherry varieties to accommodate the high-density approach.

“The cherry industry and Project GREEEN have support this project to determine if high-density tart cherry and subsequent use of berry harvesters as an alternative approach to producing cherries is  viable economically and horticulturally,” Perry said. “The current system entails growing trees far apart, waiting for the first harvest six years after planting and a limited orchard life span due to trunk shaker injury. This information is valuable for growers because it could be a better alternative for future cherry production”

Immediately after the wagon tour presentations, there will be an opportunity to meet with vendors and  a social hour. Dinner, sponsored by the Leelanau Horticultural Society, begins at 6:15 p.m. The Leelanau Horticultural Society annual meeting will be an opportunity to review accomplishments from the past year and will include other updates, awards and a raffle.

For information on “What’s Now? What’s Next?”, visit  or email Patrick Cudney, more information on the open house, call 231-256-9888 or

MSU AgBioResearch engages in innovative, leading-edge research that combines scientific expertise with practical experience to generate economic prosperity, sustain natural resources and enhance the quality of life in Michigan, the nation and the world. It encompasses the work of more than 300 scientists in seven MSU colleges -- Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Letters, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, Social Science and Veterinary Medicine -- and has a network of 13 research centers across the state.

Since its beginning, Michigan State University Extension, (MSUE) has focused on bringing knowledge-based educational programs to the people of the state to improve lives and communities. Staff members, in concert with on-campus faculty members, serve Michigan citizens with programming in food and agriculture production, nutrition and food safety, community and natural resources development, youth development and renewable energy. Today, MSUE’s goal remains the same: To give Michigan residents meaningful access to the latest life-changing research.

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