Northwest Michigan fruit update – April 26, 2022

The region accumulated growing degree days over the weekend with the warmup, but cold temperatures are back for the remainder of the week.

Close up of cherry buds on a tree.
Montmorency cherry at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center on April 25, 2022. Photo by Karen Powers, MSU Extension.

Weather report

The weather warmed over the weekend, and it felt almost summer-like on Saturday afternoon. Daytime temperatures on Saturday, April 23, topped out at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and it sure felt hot! In addition to the warm weather, we also had some rainfall this weekend. We received 0.28 inches of rain on Friday night, and another 0.48 inches of rain on Saturday. With the warm weather, we have accumulated 98 growing degree days (GDD) base 42 and 33 GDD base 50. At this same time last year, we had accumulated 254 GDD base 42 and 110 base 50. However, we are almost spot on with our growing degree day accumulations from 2019.

According to MSU state climatologist Jeff Andresen, the forecast is cloudy and abnormally cool today, April 26, with rain and scattered snow showers possible. There is also the potential for a freeze on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The week will remain cool and mostly dry until the weekend, when we might start to see rain again on Sunday, May 1. Temperatures will start to warm from low 30s this week into the mid-40s this weekend, so still cool weather will prevail throughout the region. The medium range forecast is predicting cooler than normal temperatures into early May with normal to above normal precipitation totals.

Michigan forecast.

Crop report

With the recent warm up over the weekend, our trees have started to move along a bit. Montmorency tart cherry are at side green, and Balaton are at green tip. Gold, Ulster and Emperor Francis are all at green tip. Pears are at early bud swell and Gala are at 0.25-inch green. Honeycrisp are at green tip.

Honeycrisp apples are blooming.
Honeycrisp apple at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center on April 25, 2022. Photo by Karen Powers, MSU Extension.

The forecasted cold temperatures in the mornings are a concern with the current stage of development; the forecasted temperatures for the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center is 26-27 F for the next two nights/mornings. We hope cloud cover and winds will prevail. The Critical Spring Temperatures for Tree Fruit Bud Development Stages from Michigan State University Extension shows the susceptibility of the different tree fruits at this time in the season.

Pest and disease report

The warm temperatures increased green fruit work activity over the weekend. We trapped 11, 14 and 15 green fruitworm moths in our three traps at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. We did not trap any other insects this week. We sent up the cherry leaf spot efficacy trial last week, but we have not had an infection period yet. Scab spores are starting to mature, but the cold temperatures will keep things at bay.

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