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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Sprang Early

Hi everyone!

I know that most of the country has experienced very unusual weather for this time of the year. We here in Michigan had great Springtime weather the past couple of weeks. So, the flowering trees and plants naturally did their thing and bloomed.

I took a couple of pictures with my phone while checking my mom’s house. They are in Florida for a month so, I stop by just to check things out. (Sorry about the watermarks from my other blog on these pictures. I am still trying to figure out my new phone camera)

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The early spring is causing some serious problems. Here in Michigan, we are one of the largest apple and other fruit producers. And guess what, the fruit trees are starting to bloom! This is way too early for that to happen.

In Michigan, like in many other fruit growing regions, tree fruit and small fruit varieties have been selected over the years to fit the ranges of temperatures suitable to maximize productivity and fruit quality. However, record temperatures like the ones observed on March 21 in west Michigan are turned upside down in the fruit grower’s production calendar.

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Blueberries are another huge Michigan crop.

Blueberry growers need to prepare their contingency plans to deal with possible freezing temperatures during the bloom period.

This unusual phenomenon brings a series of challenges for the fruit industry and for all the technical personnel directly associated with fruit production (i.e., agronomists, entomologists, crop consultants, agrochemical suppliers, etc.). Major challenges that we will be dealing with include spring freeze and frost events, lack of pollinators, and early arrival of insect and disease problems.

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A big problem with the fruit blooming now is that there are no bees and other pollinators around yet.

All major fruit crops in Michigan rely on honey bees for good pollination and fruit quality. But according to Michael G. Hansen, MDARD state apiarist, with such unusual spring, most commercial beekeepers that provide pollination services for Michigan growers are not ready to move their colonies from their overwintering site, Florida and California. This may create problems for all fruit industry. But it may affect most drastically small growers because most of the time beekeepers give priority to large fruit farms over small production units

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So, although it sure is pretty so see all these beautiful blooms so early, this weird weather may have some serious economic consequences to a lot of people. Including us in the price we pay for fruit over the next year.

All the data I quoted here came from MSU extension article. This is the same place that we are getting our Master Gardeners Certification.

If you would like to read more about it, check it out here.

Since Mother Nature is out of our control, we need to just enjoy the beauty we are seeing around us now.

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