2015-05-07 / Front Page

Leelanau readies for cherry bloom

Blossoms by weekend?
By Patti Brandt Of The Enterprise staff

This weekend should be a beautiful weekend for sweet cherry blooms and the following weekend should be good for tarts.

That’s according to Jim Nugent, who grows about 40 acres of both varieties in Bingham Township.

“The sweets are just starting to open,” Nugent said. “They started just a little bit yesterday (Tuesday), but with the temperatures today, tomorrow and Friday they will be in full bloom by this weekend.”

Tarts, on average, will blossom about six to seven days after the sweets, he said.

Trees further north in the county and along the Lake Michigan coast will take a little longer.

That’s good news for Sally Guzowski, executive director of the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, who says she’s fielded 30 to 40 calls in the last couple weeks from people wanting to know if the county’s spectacular blossom show has started.

“And they always want to know exactly what date to come,” Guzowski said. “I tell them, they’re a little bit behind this year, but they’ll be here. I try to be very encouraging and tell them to come anyway.”

Not a cherry blossom prognosticator herself, Guzowski calls the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center in Bingham Township for updates every few days.

And like a good cheerleader, she tells callers about the beaches, the wine and spirit-tasting, the shopping and the hundreds of other things that Leelanau County has to offer in addition to cherry blossoms.

According to a report from the Hort Center, the weather in northwest Michigan went from winter to summer without stopping for spring. Last week highs were in the 50s with cold winds from the north, and over the weekend the area saw warm, dry air that reached 80 degrees at the Hort Center on Sunday.

And if weather forecasts are correct, tart cherries should bloom around May 12 at the center — right on target, according to the Hort Center.

The weekend forecast is for rain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and potentially into Monday. Growers will be spraying the fast growing tissue to protect from mildew and other potential problems before the wet weekend.

No frost is in the forecast, according to the Hort Center, and buds have so far survived spring with very little damage.

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The blossoms are not behind.

The blossoms are not behind. We are actually a few days ahead as bloom is normally right around the 12th

Wonderful news! Can't wait to

Wonderful news! Can't wait to see the blossoms.