Bramley's Seeling vs. fire blight

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)October 15, 2013

I have never had problems with fire blight before, and therefore have not sprayed for it. This year, with our bizarre weather, was the first. I cut out all the fire blight from the affected trees and this worked well on all but my Bramley's Seedling. The week of non-stop rain that caused all the flooding here in Colorado probably opened the window for the blight to take over. The trunk of the tree was slightly affected before, but it looks like it's a goner now.

Should I take out the whole tree now, or is there a chance it could do a rebound next spring? It is on G.11/MM.111 rootstock. I thought I might be able to cut it back to just above the graft, but I'm not sure that it's not affected all the way down.

Any suggestions?

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alan haigh

If there are no cankers below any cut I don't see the down side of removing only infected wood, however my experience with a couple of pear trees that lost almost every branch is not encouraging of your trees survival. If the wood is green and healthy I'd give it a chance anyway.

Are you sure you didn't miss a large existing canker lower in the tree well before the week of rain?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:29AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


Apparently I was more worried about the Roxbury Russet that was next to it earlier in the year. Every time I think I keep good enough records I realize that I didn't. The RR seemed to recoup just fine but the BS was completely overtaken. There is a small patch of green bark just above the ground. The tree has put out lots of new buds ready for next year. Shoot I would fumigate it or anything right now to keep it going. I lost my first BS to mice, then I got scion and grafted on rootstock, which worked but I did not realize it until I had received this tree. Ugh!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fireblight for the first time

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:54AM
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alan haigh

Probably the only thing that might help right now is copper, but I'm no expert at controlling FB- I've always let it just run its course. Trees on vigorous rootstocks almost always recover. In all the years I've been doing this I've only lost a total of 3 pear trees. I've had literally hundreds of apples get shoot FB and without treatment it usually doesn't return- the couple of times it has its been less serious and failed to return by the third year.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Milehigh: My 3 year old Bramley dropped all it leaves about a month ago and none of my other 20 apple trees did so. The leaves just turned brown and shriveled up, I did not see much evidence of FB before that. A grower told me that it was likely due to a fungus because of the huge amount of rainfall this summer. I gave it the scratch test and there is green under the bark on all limbs. Maybe Bramley's are more susceptible to fungus. If your tree passes the scratch test I would give it another year.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 3:34PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

A different opinion -- more likely flooding than fireblight.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 3:49PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Sorry to see you lost a tree.
On a positive note, I'd consider Belle de Boskoop instead.
Healthy tree, vigorous and superior to Bramley for cooking.
Strudel with BdB is perfection.

Also, G.30 rootstock is a consideration for wet ground.



This post was edited by megamav on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 16:07

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:06PM
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alan haigh

If it is fireblight, oozing cankers indenting bark at base of dead wood should be there and, as I vaguely recall, the cambium immediately turns brown, unlike the affect of drowning.

The fungus I have experience with in the northeast defoliates and doesn't leave dead leaves on the trees. The kind we get here from excessive rain during summer doesn't completely kill leaves but causes lots of brown splotching and very ugly foliage.

It's fun playing tree detective but it's hard to be accurate from just a photo.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:08PM
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alan haigh

I wouldn't expect a week of flooding to have that drastic of an affect on any tree unless it took another couple weeks for drainage.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 4:10PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Well maybe it is a water issue. I could have sworn the tree was fine and then it was just dead looking. I was totally taken by surprise. Since the tree has lots of new buds formed for next year I am going to venture that it is something else besides FB.

The rain we had was unprecedented (1000 year flood!). I think we went for almost two weeks with rain. If the leaves don't fall on their own I will strip them before snow comes. I already have Belle de Boskoop and am dying to try it. Hopefully next year I will get some.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 7:58PM
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