By Kathryn Carter, Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith and Amanda Green, OMAFRA


The hot weather has continued to push degree day accumulations (GDD) forward and as of July 12, 2020 the GDD from this year are now ahead of last year’s growing degree day accumulations. The GDD accumulations for 2020 (base 5 °C) for the Niagara Parkway South area are 1060 GDD, Lakeshore Rd 1024 GDD and Beamsville 1030 GDD which put us slightly ahead of 2019 with respect to degree day accumulations (Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, 2020).

Rainfall for July has been low (Figure 1) however some areas have received much needed rain over the weekend. Irrigation is still being used in some orchards and vineyards.

This map predicts the current average precipitation across southwestern Ontario for the first half of July 2020. Most of the map, including the Niagara region, is red, indicating that the area has received less than 40% average precipiatation
Figure 1 Accumulated Precipitation for July 1-14, 2020 (MNRF, 2020) Retrieved from

Tender Fruit and Fresh Grape

Crop Development

In Niagara fruit diameters are as follows: pears ~60 mm, plums ~40 mm, peaches ~ 53 mm and nectarines~ 50 mm.  Tart cherries are ~20 mm.

Sweet cherry harvest is wrapping up. Harvest has started on tart cherries, plums and some nectarines.

The image depicts a developing nectarine hanging from a tree branch. The nectarine is round and red in colour.
Nectarines, Beamsville, July 16, 2020

Wine Grapes

Crop Development

Leaf removal is winding down. Shoot positioning and hedging is being completed in vineyards. For more information on hedging see Hedging in vineyards .

We are starting to see some symptoms of drought with warm temperatures and continued dry weather. Symptoms of water stress in grapes include reduction in shoot growth, tendrils drying up, drooping leaves, leaf bleaching and leaf senescence. Refer to How Grapevines respond to water stress to see symptoms of drought stressed vines.

Chardonnay grapes hanging from a vine in Niagara-on-the-lake. The grapes are green and hang in clusters of 50 or more.
Chardonnay Wine Grapes in NOTL

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