Newb needs help with orchard! Fireblight!

RKarrJuly 10, 2013

I recently acquired a small orchard of 2 Apple trees, a Pear and a Peach, in Ky. These were planted by my mom about 15 years ago and all are rather large trees. I bought the land that the trees are on and I'm wanting to care for them, but I'm afraid it may be to late. The pear and apples seem to have fireblight, although they are still producing well. What are my options? I am also wanting to plant several more fruit trees on the property, but if I understand correctly, this blight is contagious. my tress have dead brown leaves on most of the branches, so I suppose it is quite severe? Any and all advice would be appreciated.

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rayrose(8)

Depending upon how severe the blight is, you need to prune out all of the infected area, and if its major, you may need to take out the trees. Furthermore, I'd spray the trees with Agrimycin.
When you spray. make sure you wear a ventilator, eye protection and long sleeves and pants. This is very strong stuff, and you'll more than likely have to spray multiple times.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 5:11PM
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wilfredjr(4b)

If you are looking for a low-impact spray, I have had reasonable success stopping the spread with this:
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/treat-fire-blight-white-vinegar-spray-22596.html
Here's a diagram from Cornell explaining the cycle:
http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/treefruit/diseases/fb/fb_cycle.gif
Here's an assessment of all treatment options:
http://www.caf.wvu.edu/kearneysville/articles/SteinerHort2.html

I am affected, too, and trying not to poison everything around here. My 3rd leaf trees are too small to give up the growth by pruning.

Here is a link that might be useful: my follow-up experiment

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 5:18PM
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lucky_p

Rkarr,
'nother KY member here. For all intents and purposes, FB is a fact of life here.
On young trees, I usually try to prune out strikes - but I'm pretty much a hands-off gardener/orchardist, and do absolutely no sprays(not that I'm opposed to 'em, but ain't nobody here got time for that). If a plant is going to be perennially at risk, I'd just as soon they go ahead and kick the bucket. Most of my older trees take some hits, but seem to arrest them pretty well. If I get around to pruning out scorched FB wood, that's all well and good, but most years I don't get around to it.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 9:59PM
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RKarr

I'm glad to hear that there are some steps to take that will combat the infection. Lucky_p, I'm really glad to hear that you are also in Ky and have been successful with a hands off approach. I'd like to have at least a moderately successful orchard without to much stress.

I have a bit more info to put out there. I checked the trees more in depth yesterday and it seems as if the Pear tree is really not bad at all. Just a few small signs of blight. One of the apple trees is mildly affected and could use some care, but doesn't seem too severe. Its the second apple that is most affected. It is affected all over and may need to eventually be cut. Many of the branch ends have white bumps (fungus?) growing on them. But here's the strange thing, I seem to have a few Black Gums that are affected. Is this even possible?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:35AM
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lucky_p

Sounds like you may have aphids &/or powdery mildew - or any number of other common pests/maladies.
Some of my pears and apples have, almost on a yearly basis, multiple fireblight strikes - looking at them now, there are multiple brown, dead branch tips - but most don't progress very far.
Most of the hybrid pears, like Keiffer, are noted for taking multiple annual hits, shrugging them off and rolling right along for decades, continuing to bear beaucoup fruits.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 12:23PM
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