Weekend freeze damaged area fruit crops

From information compiled by William Shane, Mark Longstroth, Michael Reinke and Katherine East Michigan State University Extension

    An overnight freeze Saturday, May 9, caused damage to most fruit crops in the region.
    Last week was cold and dry. High temperatures were in the upper 50s; lows were in the 40s and 30s. But, Friday, May 8, was cold and very windy with the arrival of a cold polar air mass. The winds died overnight and the region suffered a widespread freeze with low temperatures into the mid- and low 20s, which damaged fruit crops.
    The coldest temperatures (20 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit) were right here - the region east of Benton Harbor and west of Kala-mazoo. Temperatures were warmer both north and south of the I-94 corridor. Areas close to Lake Michigan were warmer than interior sites.

Tree fruit
    Apricots were hurt by April freezes and again by the low temperatures of late last week.
    Peaches and nectarines range from bloom to petal fall. Flower density is high this year, which should help to offset freeze damage from the past weekend.             Sweet cherries are at petal fall to in the shuck. Freeze damage is significant with less damage in good sites. Montmorency tart cherries are still in bloom. Freeze injury is widespread but very variable from moderate to severe.
    Japanese plums are in the shuck and European types are in petal fall. The weekend freeze was hard on plums.
    Apple buds are at pink to king bloom open. Varieties most affected by the weekend freeze appear to be Gala, Fuji and Jonagold.
    Pears are blooming. Low temperatures over the weekend caused significant damage in some sites.

Small fruit
    There was widespread freeze damage to grapes from the freeze on May 9. Niagara and Concord grapes were the most impacted by freeze, with up to 50% primary bud loss in some cases. The less-developed wine grapes saw very little primary bud damage. There was little freeze damage to blueberries from Saturday morning when temperatures dropped into the lower 20s.

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
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