Fire Blight

Our unusually cool and wet spring has allowed fire blight to rear its ugly head.  In a normal year we would have had a stint of 100+ degree weather that would have knocked this bacterial disease out for the year, but the highest we’ve had is in the mid-80’s, perfect weather for this disease.

I caught it early and so far have been able to relegate it to just branch tips and clusters, but I’ve had to prune off a lot of clusters.  Three years ago I didn’t know what it was before it got well into the trunk of my Gala tree, notorious for being a fire blight magnet. 

I use a mini butane torch to sterilize my clippers, which is faster than the spray bottle of alcohol.  No heat in sight yet, so I’ll have to keep making the rounds.  The ornamental pear street trees and Redbud trees are getting hammered.  Nothing on my pears yet, but its only a matter of time.

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2 Responses

  1. I just saw this on my Pink Lady this morning and didn’t know what it was. Perfect timing. I take it I just need to prune off the affected branches or tips?

  2. Yes, cut it off way below the affected area; 6″ minimum. Look for telltale amber ooze droplets (that’s the bacterium). Be aggressive in the pruning, or it will keep on spreading. Sterilize your clippers between trees so you don’t spread it, and pray for hot weather (can’t believe I’m saying that).

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