Northwest Michigan fruit update - March 30, 2020

The season is off to a warmer than usual start.

Michigan’s 2021 growing season is progressing quickly in terms of growing degree days (GDD). According to Michigan State University climatologist Jeff Andresen, the state is currently about three weeks ahead of normal. Average temperatures throughout March were higher than normal resulting in an unusually warm start to spring. Medium range forecasts are calling for milder and drier than normal weather into mid-April. Long range forecasts into late spring are suggesting warmer and wetter than normal conditions. Looking at historical data for the northwest region, the past few seasons have been behind normal for this time of year. Currently, 2016 is the closest representation to 2021 in terms of GDDs in the past decade. However, this situation can change quickly depending on future weather.

View Andresen’s weekly agricultural weather report.

Temperatures today are expected to reach into the low 60s with cooler conditions through Friday. There are a few cold nights ahead in the low 20s, but these predicted temperatures are not cold enough to cause significant damage at this point in the season. We remind growers considering dormant oil applications to wait until there is no risk of freezing temperatures to prevent bud damage; do not use oil sprays 48 hours before or after a frost/freeze event. Last season, European red mite populations were high in some apple orchards and San Jose scale challenges some stone and/or pome fruit orchards; begin monitoring for the overwintering red colored European red mite eggs and dormant scale.

Over the weekend, temperatures will jump back up into the 60s to kick off the start of next week. We expect that the consecutive days of warm weather will facilitate bud development, particularly on apples. In warmer areas, apples could begin showing first green next week; first green is estimated at 130 GDD base 42 for McIntosh. As of today (March 30), MSU Enviroweather stations in our five counties region are reporting 76-118 GDD base 42 and 23-46 GDD base 50. The region is forecasted to reach 97-143 GDD base 42 and 28-55 GDD base 50 by Monday (April 5) next week.

Station

GDD base 42 F current (March 30)

GDD base 42 F forecast (April 5)

GDD base 50 F current (March 30)

GDD base 50 F forecast (April 5)

Benzonia

95

116

32

39

East Leland

95

120

35

43

Eastport

97

123

35

44

Elk Rapids

116

142

46

55

Kewadin

118

143

45

55

Northport

76

97

23

28

Old Mission

102

128

38

46

Onekama Twp/Bear Lake

93

114

34

40

Petoskey

88

106

31

35

Traverse City (NWMHRS)

101

126

37

45

Williamsburg 20m Tower

110

136

46

52

Weeds are germinating and growing in warmer weather. Fortunately, warmer temperatures are also good conditions for early season weed control. Growers that plan to use paraquat or Gramoxone this season should review the new label and training requirements associated with this herbicide. The product label requires applicators to complete the training every three years in order to mix, load, apply or handle paraquat. There are also updated regulations for dealers, distributors and applicators to be aware of for new product as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Finally, a note on upcoming programs and COVID-19 protocols in place for MSU Extension. If you haven’t already, please register for the upcoming 2021 Statewide Spring Tree Fruit Webinar Series. This series is replacing our usual IPM Kickoff meeting. As in 2020, we have been granted limited travel authorization (which will be reviewed and renewed on a monthly basis) to conduct Extension activities which includes running the trap line at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. Hence, we will continue providing reports on pest and disease activity as the season progresses. Additionally, IPM updates will also be held remotely for the start of the 2021 season and details for the meetings are forthcoming.

Did you find this article useful?


You Might Also Be Interested In