Approaching Neighbor about Fireblight

kittymoonbeamMarch 2, 2013

Thanks to everyone who helped me with solving my neighbor's apple fireblight problem. After a little chatting with people around the block, I found out that nearby backyard apple trees have been dying off for a number of years now. Even the nurseryman from south OC who sells trees at the Orange farmer's market said he got hit with it last year and had never seen it before then. He told me to knock off any browning flowers I found right away but I think I will just remove all developing flowers this year since trees a few houses away are sick.

My neighbor who has a greatly reduced tree now is wondering if we should approach the man next door with the very sick tree. We peeked over the wall again and saw that he just planted another new apple right next to it that looks great. Should we print out some info and leave it on the porch so he can possibly save his new tree? he doesn't like my neighbor at all because of her bird ( she brings it outside for fresh air and it squaks at dusk ) I can hear it from my house 5 houses away so I can sympathize. He's kind of grouchy and I don't want to knock on the door. What should we do if anything.

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fireduck(10a)

Good fences make good neighbors...haha. Cut back branches well below any fireblighted areas/blossoms. Pray for a " for sale" sign next door.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:37PM
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melikeeatplants

Yeah, leave some info in his mailbox for him. It's a good idea, worst that comes of if it is he throws the info out.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:44PM
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john_in_sc

Sometimes, knocking on the door can be a polite introduction...

Perhaps introduce yourself as a neighbor a couple houses down, and that you had a problem with fireblight on an apple tree last year - and that you heard he had an apple tree that got hit as well... You got some info from the local extension office and wanted to share it with him...

It's not like you are trying to sell him insurance or Girl Scout Cookies or something....

If he tells you no - then politely leave...

but he might be curious enough to at least talk a bit... Who knows...

Thanks

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 4:35PM
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campv

You can try, I would. The only thing he can say is get the h#$%^ away and mind your own business. He is also maybe a nice man, just tired of the loud bird and other crap that goes on in a neighbor hood. John in SC has got it right I wouldn't do the mail box thing, first its against the law and second it might make matters worse. (If you get caught, how embarassing) Intro yourself. Take a chance maybe make a friend.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 5:38PM
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iammarcus(6)

Last year I lost a pear and 5 apples to fireblight, I understand streptomycin is helpful, does anyone know a source?
Dan

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:38PM
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kittymoonbeam

I wasn't going to put anything in the mailbox. I know that is illegal. I was walking up the street a few times this evening hoping to catch him. Sometimes he's out in the front working with the car or his boat and I thought it might be better than knocking on the door. I made some little sheer bags out of bridal material and put them over the branches where the blossoms will come to protect them. Now I am sewing them for the neighbors tree we are trying to save. When I read about the sprays, it seemed that the timing had to be just right to be helpful. My tree is small so I decided to try lightweight sheer fabric bags and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:07PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Kitty,

I wouldn't necessarily assume fireblight will automatically hit you this year. Bad outbreaks are not an every year occurrence in the Midwest and the Northeast, which are much more fireblight prone than CA. For bad outbreaks here, circumstances have to be just right.

Regarding having the man remove the fireblight stricken tree, perhaps your rationale is that you want to remove innoculum? However, the tree may not be as much of the culprit as it seems.

You mentioned that other neighbors indicated their apple trees were dying. That may not have anything to do with fireblight. My experience has been that most homeowners with a few fruit trees have heard of fireblight but really don't know anything about it. It's a name that sticks in their memory and when a tree dies unexpectedly they blame it on fireblight. Even on this forum, occasionally someone new will blame the death of one of a stone fruit tree on fireblight, which of course is impossible.

The man with the sick tree could have fireblight cankers on his tree, but if there is truly a lot of fireblight in your neighborhood, his tree is probably not the only source of innoculum. In my neighborhood there are enough apple and pear trees the innoculum is probably ubiquitous. Still a bad outbreak doesn't occur that often, but when it does it can be pretty bad.

Marcus,

I see Planet Natural carries Ferti-Lome which is streptomycin. Oxytetracycline is commonly used as well - sold under names like Mycoshield (not the throat spray), Flameout, and Fireline.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Thanks for your post. Our new property has some half-alive apple trees that look like the dead branches have been burned.

Wish I was your neighbor! Never heard of this stuff before, so after googling it, I found out how to control fire-blight.

The adventure begins!

Suzi

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:41PM
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melikeeatplants

You don't have to put in the mailbox. People leave flyers on my door mat, door handle, and wedged in the door frame all the time (mostly realtors!). Why not leave a flier with info for him? Otherwise man up and ring/knock on the door...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 4:07PM
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kittymoonbeam

I never was able to see him outside working on the car so I made up a flier about fireblight with places on the web to learn more. I made it so that it was a 1/2 sheet (twice on one piece of paper) and cut them apart and delivered one to every house so no one would feel singles out. I wasn't going to ask for the tree's removal just to knock off flowers from possibly infected wood to reduce the possibility of spread.

I recieved some good advice to watch flowers closely and break off the ones showing browning petals so the branch does not get sick. My trees are so small yet that I don't mind bagging them this year. They can put their energy into growing. The friends tree looks so sad after it's emergency surgery but we have hopes for its recovery. It was sad to learn about people losing trees and being discouraged and not wanting to replant.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:02AM
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