Early signs of fireblight on apple blossoms?

steve333_gw(5a)June 7, 2014

I was taking a look at some of my apple trees, currently in full bloom (is cold up here ;-) and noticed something which gave me a scare. A few of the spurs had their flower bud all brown and dead. In a couple of cases there were also some yellow on the nearby leaves by the flower buds. It appeared to be unopened flowers that had turned brown and dried up.

This isn't the classic sign of fireblight I don't think, and I suppose a few dead buds might have happened naturally from other causes (although we have not had any near freezing temps in a while). And I have not noticed any other signs of FB on the trees. (I did spray a week ago just before blossom open with Serenade).

Should I pull out the streptomycin, or am I jumping the gun here?

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You shouldn't use anti-bacterial on plants of course. You're not at fault but that's a horrible misappropriation of an anti-bacterial agent.

The trees probably suffered a late frost. You should prune it after spring growth has hardened.

If they are chronically diseased you should cut them down and replace with disease resistant trees. You should never treat plants with anti-bacterial or anti-viral agents.

You should avoid the fertilizers and only once a year and never during the spring new growth. You want apples not new leaves and twigs stressed out be spring fluctuations to succumb to fire blight and other diseases. For apples create a compost heap from fall leaves over the winter.


I can't believe the government allows such uses and they wonder were anti-bacterial resistant bacterial is coming from. They need to wake up.

Anyway, practical treatment of Fire Blight except for the recommendations of chemical treatment:


Chemical treatments only lead to orchards that have to be ripped out and replaced with other economic development as it upsets so many natural life processes that support the roots, tree, leaves, and fruit.

Again, if the trees don't response to pruning, sometimes harder pruning, then replace them. Always move the pruned branches away from the trees and dispose so the pathogen(s) can't re-infect the area.

For this reason it's also best if you grow vegetables and flowers and such to try and plant them in an area away from your trees if you can.

We have apple trees that look weather beaten but they produce good apples and more than the birds can eat. They have never been treated with any chemical or even fertilized. They are all 15 - 20 ft high and really the best thing heath wise that could be done for them is a thinning pruning to allow better air circulation and creating a fall leave compost. Everything else you're being told to do is really expensive marketing. You don't need apples that look like they are made of wax and you won't get them anyway.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 7:33PM
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I'm experiencing similar ...no late frost . I don't spray...
Some of my trees are elder...always have fruit ....all have black spurs and hard dry pea size black fruit that was fine two weeks ago...
...i'll call my local coop extension monday and see what they know...

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:47PM
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My only fireblight protection this spring was Serenade. My apples and pears are about 2" now with no signs of fireblight. One season is a very limited amount of information to say the spray I used prevented fireblight but it appears to be a start. Good luck, Bill

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I bought to pears last fall one Kieffer and one Bartlett and I left them potted in the back yard over winter and to my surprise survived but just after leafing out there were 2 or 3 hard frosts in the span of a month. The Kieffer was done in completely by Fire Blight. The Bartlette about 1/4 of all branches were done in by Fire Blight.

Two apples I bought at Wal*Mart this Spring and have planted are doing excellent with no sign of Fire Blight although the Ozark looks exceptional while the Red Delicious is healthy but looks sort of 'wilty' all the time. I reckon it's the root systems.

It must of be the stress the pears were put under that caused the Fire Blight. I'm still taken aback about the streptomycin. Whoa!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Strectomycin and other anti-bacterials are being removed from the market:


In reading how the bacteria spreads it almost sounds as if it's being introduced by pollinators.

If it is being introduced by pollinators then perhaps it's bee keepers introducing and spreading this disease. Kept bees are also suffering from a colony collapse disease which is probably related to the artificial stress of treating an bee ailment with something that kills all the beneficial organisms in the bee's environment so that it can then can be invaded by organisms that aren't symbiotic with the bee's evolved environment and so this stress over time creates colony collapse syndrome.

A bit like they now recommend than you eat yogurt and kefir while and after antibiotics treatments to dry and get a balanced microbial intestine 'ecosystem'. Sorry if I sound like Euell Gibbons but remembering his commercial as a kid makes me smile.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:19PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Steve, is this what your blossom clusters look like? I'm not sure what causes it, but Fireblight is one of my suspects as well.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Not really, but perhaps it would develop into that... Mine are just a flower bud (unopened) and its stem that have turned brown. A leaf or two below it has yellowed in a few spots.

If/when it stops raining I'll try to get a pic and post it.

Your pic looks a lot more like FB from the little I know about it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:48PM
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I took a picture of my Fire Blighted Bartlett pear tree to illustrate what Fire Blight looks like just minutes ago.

Not like your killed apple fruit buds.

Below is a link from a google image search to illustrate Fire Blight better.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fire Blight

This post was edited by AgroCoders on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 15:36

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:00PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Fireblight has about a hundred different ways it can look. Limb strikes, trunk strikes, tip strikes, blossom strikes, you name it. Bob, your picture is a ringer for blossom blight. Steve, post a picture when you get it.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:07PM
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Well it finally stopped raining for a bit so I got some photos. Here is the first. Main growth tip and flower buds turned brown and a leaf yellow.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:38PM
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And here is the second. In seaching for some representative shoots to photo, I did notice a couple of spurs that looked more like standard FB in a shoot, so perhaps that is what is going on here. It has been quite wet here (for us) the last week or so and then quite warm just before that.

What do people think, FB???

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Not fireblight; the blossoms turn brown and hang limp, firmly attached; same with the leaves. Yellow ooze is another sure sign. The next day or two will tell; possibly earwig damage.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:43PM
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