Michigan State University Extension

Blueberry Newsletter - Blueberry Bites

View From The Field

Bluejay - Paw Paw

Bluecrop - Paw Paw

Bluecrop - Fennville

Pest Update: Insects

Blueberry pollination continues rapidly with the hot conditions, with some cultivars still just starting bloom in Muskegon County and petal fall well underway in Berrien county. Pollination conditions have generally been excellent, with strong colonies working hard in the last week to visit flowers. We have also seen bumble bees and solitary native bees working flowers. As the new berries form, it is time to check for fruitworm larvae that can burrow into the young berries. So far there has been little reporting of their activity. As we progress further into bloom, gall wasp emergence is expected too with the timing to protect susceptible fields being immediately after bloom. This also works for protecting against fruitworms at the same time.   

Pollinator Workshop - June 1

The program will include a description of pollination practices at the host farms and results from recent research at these locations. Presentations will be by experts from the MSU Department of Entomology including Meghan Milbrath (honey bees) and Rufus Isaacs (blueberry pollination). The events will include a mix of hands-on demonstrations of sampling for colony strength, bee activity levels in the crop field, and pollination success. There are no RUP credits for this program. A sign up for June 1 will be available soon.

Don't Guess, Test!

The diagnostic program supported by the Michigan Blueberry Commission (MBC) first piloted last year, is continuing in 2023. This program funded by the MBC will cover the diagnostic fees for up to two samples per Michigan blueberry grower. The samples will be evaluated and tested as appropriate by specialists in the MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics (PPD) lab.  If there is anything concerning or puzzling in your blueberry field, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

Diagnostic Testing Form 

Horticulture Update

The risk for a potential spring frost is over and the warm weather seems here to stay. With the warm weather and lack of rain over the past 5-10 days, it will be smart to consider irrigating. This will be particularly important for newly planted fields, where plant root systems are still quite small. Blueberry plants won’t need as much water now as during fruit ripening, but this initial flush of vegetative growth will use some water.   

Irrigating Michigan Blueberries
Irrigation is Necessary in Michigan Blueberries

Extension Update

The southwest fruit team hosts weekly IPM meetings feel free to join us in-person or virtually from 5:30-7 at the southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center. 1 RUP credit is offered each week. Sign up here!

Give it a listen!

The United States Highbush Blueberry Council puts out a podcast every week - The Business of Blueberries. They cover a variety of topics and always have a crop update for the different growing regions. Check it out here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Upcoming Events




Pollinator Workshop - North

June 1,10 am - Noon

West Olive

Blueberry Bites is compiled by Cheyenne Sloan, Blueberry and Small Fruit Educator

Contributors: Rufus Isaacs, Josh VanderWeide, Cheyenne Sloan

Questions? Comments?

MSUE Small Fruit Educators

Blueberry and Small Fruit Educator - Cheyenne Sloan

Small Fruit Educator - Carlos Garcia Salazar

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.