Northwest Michigan fruit regional report – March 28, 2017

Northwest Michigan remains cool with very little change over the last two weeks.

Growing degree-day (GDD) accumulations as of March 28, 2017, at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center

GDD20172016201520142013201227-year average
42 F 42.3 64.9 23.1 3.7 8.6 277 43.4
50 F 9.6 19.5 4.7 0.2 0.3 161.1 15.1

Weather report

After the initial scare with a few days of fairly warm weather, we are back to more “normal” springtime temperatures. Future temperatures look to be cool with a chance of snow and rain in the coming days. We have accumulated 42.3 GDD base 42, which is almost spot on with our 27-year average of 43.4 GDD. We have accumulated 9.6 GDD base 50, which is slightly less than our average of 15.1 GDD.

Crop report

We have been looking for potential damage since the cold snap a few weeks ago. We have cut sweet and tart cherry buds here at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center, but we have seen no damage. We also sent tart cherry branches down to Michigan State University horticulturist Amy Iezzoni, and she did not find any damage either. Lastly, MSU tree fruit horticulturist Todd Einhorn is initiating a study to monitor tart cherry development, and we are shipping him branches three times per week. Thus far, with more advanced technological procedures, Einhorn has not seen any damage. The buds look healthy across all crops.

Growers are out pruning now, but MSU Extension suggests sweet cherry pruning wait until this wet and cold weather passes. These wet conditions and recent snowmelt have left orchards extremely wet. Many growers are waiting to remove brush from the orchards when they dry out.

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