Honeycrisp whip looks dead - fireblight?

hikingbertJuly 26, 2012

I have a Honeycrisp in it's second year.

I have a Honeycrisp on an M27 mini-dwarf rootstock.

The first year, it leafed out as expected.

The second year, the flowers came quite late. I was expecting to remove all the apples to let it grow larger into the third year. Instead the flowers died quickly and the little leaves died as well. They've been dead for a month now.

I cut into the tip of the whip and it's still green inside the main stem of the leader - but with all the leaves dead, I am having a hard time imagining it's going to survive into the next year. My best guess is that it died of Fireblight.

SO - am I right ..is it dead and there is no hope that it will survive into next year? Pull it and replace it and do a better job with sprays next year?

Thanks for any words of wisdom.

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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

It could be fireblight. My only other question is, have you been watering it deeply and regularly? If not, it could have just died from a poor root system and got burned up on the heat of this very hot summer. But if it's gotten plenty of water then yes, my bet is that there is quite possibly a fireblight problem.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 10:02AM
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glib(5.5)

Can you get fireblight when it has not rained one inch or more since March, and the only rainfall above 1/2 inch since March was in early July?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:17PM
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hikingbert

I forgot to mention, I'm in the PNW ...fortunately, we haven't been hit with the heatwave.

I've been watering well. ...the tree closest to the Honeycrisp is a Chehalis and it is doing quite well - both treated the same with the same watering schedule.

So, should I pull the whip? I can't imagine it has a chance to survive after going through the whole summer with no leaves.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

Fireblight leaves the dead leaves on the tree and they turn black. It is a bacterial disease. If your leaves turned brown and shriveled, it is likely not Fireblight.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 8:34PM
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iammarcus(6)

Does anyone know what the vector is in fireblight? I lost 3 apples and a pear to fireblight this year after treating them in early spring with a preventive spray.
Dan

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:32AM
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calistoga_al

Fireblight is often transferred from plant to plant by pollinating insects during the bloom period. If treating with spray at least weakly is required during bloom, before the disease is noted. Once infected the infected area must be removed to stop the movement down the stem into more and more wood. Al

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:46AM
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spartan-apple

Jammarcus:

Fireblight is caused by the bacteria Erwinia. It primarily is a spring issue in my area. The only control I know of is spraying with Streptomyocin during blossom time. This is only somewhat effective and is supposed to be applied at night or during low light conditions. The other control is to prune out any cankers or infected parts
hopefully before it spreads into the trunk. Be sure to sterilize your pruners or saw between pruning cuts so you do not spread the bacteria in the process.

The Erwinia backteria overwinter in infected plants. Infected plants will have a canker form on the the branch.
The bark around this canker will be unusual looking, very rough and reddish in appearance. If you cut into the branch, you will see brown streaking in the vascular tissue. The canker will swell and ruture releasing the spores.

The spores are spread to other trees by insect, wind, rain
ect. If it infects a tree thru the flowers, the flowers/spur will die almost instantly(blossom blight). If you have warm weather and wind or hail (injures the young new growth so the bacteria can gain entry), then you might see the new growing tips wilting like the plant needs water. The next day the the infected new growth will be black(shoot blight).

Some varieties are more susceptible to fireblight (Honeygold apple, Jonathan apple ect).

Interesting thing I have found is that the rootstock on apples plays an issue in fireblight susceptibility too. Some are more prone to it (M-26). A friend of mine had
2 rows of an apple variety on M7 and the 3rd row of the same variety on M26 as his supplier did not have enough left on M7 when he ordered. One year fireblight struck the
row on M26 and killed the whole row. This same apple variety on the M7 was not affected.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:21PM
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iammarcus(6)

Glad to know it isn't my bees infecting my trees. That would be a poor choice to make, bees or trees. Three of the trees that died had never blossumed, too young and small, so it had to be something else. Earlier I had agressively pruned away all the fireblight I found and "sealed" it up pending the end of a burn ban, I'm still waiting. I use two pruners so I can keep one in alcohol while using the other.
Dan

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:06AM
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