Southeast Michigan fruit regional report – August 19, 2014

Paula Red apple harvest is complete at most farms, with Earligold and Zestar coming along quickly.


Our season has continued to drop further behind normal for growing degree day (GDD) totals due to cooler temperatures and ahead of normal in terms of beginning of harvest of our fruit crops. However, with the total loss of our peach and plum crops, which would normally be harvested at this time, it is a bit hard to determine the beginning of harvest of our fruit crops in the past three weeks.

Most growers received around 0.5 inches of rain in the past week. This is on top of the significant rain event that occurred Monday, Aug. 11, for some growers. There were several reports of hail in the past week. Soil moisture supplies remain adequate at most fruit farms.

East Michigan GDD totals for March 1 to Aug. 18, 2014





Commerce (Oakland)




Emmett (St Clair)




Flint (Genesee)




Lapeer (Lapeer)




Petersburg (Monroe)




Pigeon (Huron)




Romeo (Macomb)




Tree fruits

Apple harvest of Paula Red has wrapped up at most farms, fruit size and color was very good. Earligold and Zestar varieties are very close to being ready to harvest. I estimate that we are about two weeks away from the beginning of Gala harvest for the early maturing strains. Growers using Retain need to do a good job of scheduling applications three to four weeks prior to beginning of harvest. Apples appear to be developing three to four days earlier than we predicted in the predicted apple harvest dates published earlier in the season by Michigan State University Extension. The actual dates may be closer to normal or average.

Apples in the Flint, Michigan area are mostly 2.75 to 3 inches in size. Apples continue to have good fruit size and color this season. Last week I began to notice terminal growth has resumed again in a few apple varieties. Several weeks ago it appeared the terminal buds were set for the season.

Summer pruning of apples continues. Leaf tissue samples for nutrient analysis needs to be collected this week as the proper collecting window is closing here in mid-August.

Apple maggot catches on red sphere traps have continued this week at most farms. Codling moth trap catch numbers have leveled off in conventional blocks and are near zero in most pheromone disrupted blocks. I am encouraging apple growers to keep a close eye on codling moth trap catch numbers over the next three weeks as we may see a jump from the tail end of the second generation flight when warmer nighttime temperatures return. Woolly apple aphid colonies on pruning sites are starting to become more evident; these will need to be watched closely for the rest of the season. Green apple aphids are appearing on apple varieties that have started a new flush of growth in the past week.

I have not seen any symptoms of sooty blotch and fly speck diseases. Blister spot in Crispin (Mutsu) continues to show up at many farms.

Pears continue to size well with most being around 2.27 inches. Bartlett harvest is expected in about a week.

Tart cherry leaf drop from cherry leaf spot is continuing, with many yellowing leaves dropping to the orchard floor.

Plum harvest of both Japanese and early maturing European varieties continues for the few growers with a crop this season.

Small fruits

Grapes are continuing to fill the clusters for Concord and Niagara varieties. A few grape berry moths are continuing to be caught in traps and I continue to see a few Japanese beetle adults.

Strawberry rows continue to fill out, with most new fields filling out their row. I have seen several new plantings this week with leaf cupping from potato leafhopper feeding. Some powdery mildew is also being seen.

Raspberry harvest for fall-bearing varieties continues. Trap catch of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) remains steady to slowly rising at most farms this past week. Control measures need to be taken now and continue through the end of harvest. Consult recommendations in the “Spotted Wing Drosophila Management Recommendations for Michigan Raspberry and Blackberry Growers guide at the MSU Spotted Wing Drosophila website for details. Extreme leaf curling from powdery mildew has been seen at many raspberry farms in the past week.

Blueberry harvest continues across the region. I found the first blueberry maggot trap catch of the season on yellow cards late last week and over the weekend. Trap catch of SWD continues in steady numbers at most blueberry farms in the last week. This means that control measures need to be taken now and continue through the end of harvest. Consult recommendations in the “SWD Management Recommendations for Michigan Blueberry guide at the MSU Spotted Wing Drosophila website for details. A few Japanese beetles continue to be found in blueberries.

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