Fire blight

danielmcJune 13, 2012

History: New house.

Removed 8 bradford trees from back acre last fall.

As well as two Peach trees which were 80% dead and left a Apple tree these trees were probably planted about the time the house was built 20 years ago and probably hadn't been pruned or cared for in the last 15 years...

The Apple was over grown but looked healthy.

In the winter I opened up the tree cutting about 15% of the tree dormant spray and such but didn't notice any serious damage to the bark...

I also planted 18 fruit trees including four more apple and two pear...

This year I noticed fire blight in the Apple tree I left. I cut back the damaged limbs at first as I identified them but as time has gone by it appears to have hit about every limb to some degree I dont know the variety and it is a semi-dwarf. Most all leaves on the tree have some spots and are yellowing slightly.

Okay heres the question I have put some money into my new trees and dont want to fight this more than I have to... so do I get rid of the tree completly now, in the winter, or just prune out what I can in the winter? I have neighbors who have bradford pears which have some fire blight damage ie reservoirs within 150 feet from my trees.

Opinions from those with experience with fire blight or those with apple orchards would be helpful. Opinions from those that have read articles online not so helpful i have read the same articles...

Thanks in advance,


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You're in the heart of fireblight country. Some varieties are exquisitely sensitive, others are tolerant - take a lickin' and keep on tickin' - but none, that I'm aware of are totally resistant to it.
I've lost a few apples/pears/quince to FB through the years, but if they can't make it under my (lack of) management scheme, they don't belong here anyway.
I try to prune out FB strikes whenever possible, but I've got a bunch of blackened shoots in several pears out in my orchard right now that I've just not gotten around to cutting out, and I'm not fretting over 'em. They look to have progressed as far as they're going to this season. I will prune 'em out at some point, if only to diminish the potential for them to act as a source of new infection next year.

Stay tuned for opinions/recommendations from orchardists who have a more hands-on approach.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:36PM
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thanks lucky,
I have gone back and forth on how aggressive to get with this... The tree I left is a unknown dont have any idea what type yet but I planted a dwarf gala fifteen feet from it that I (now) know get fire blight easy. I'm originally from Okla and though I remember reading about fire blight I don't think I even saw it so this is new to me. The apple tree has some yellowing of the leaves is this a secondary problem or a stress response from a fire blight infection?
The bradford pears around me that are blighted don't seem to be yellowing.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Cedar(juniper)-apple rust will be your constant companion, as well, and may be the yellow you're seeing?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:22AM
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