When your fruit tree has been diagnosed with fire blight by a qualified arborist, you’ll usually also be provided with a range of options and course of fire blight treatment – assuming your tree can be saved! Their is usually very little that can be done. Fire blight treatment is really one of prevention.
>> Winter pruning is crucial to fire blight mitigation.
There is no cure for this disease, so prevention is the best solution for the management of fire blight. Fire blight management methods include:
- planting resistant varieties,
- implementing cultural practices that favor growth of the plant rather than the pathogen,
- pruning to remove infected plant parts, and
- chemical sprays.
Using resistant varieties is the most effective prevention method.
Timing for chemical control is critical! Spraying chemicals is not recommended for homeowners because of chemical availability, potential phytoxicity, cor changing the color of the tree, neighboring plants or even structures such as your house. ArborScape uses a proprietary blend of chemical controls to promote the trees resistance to the fire-blight bacterium.
Resistant varieties: Cultivars of apple, crabapple, and pear differ in their degree of susceptibility to the bacterium; although some cultivars are less susceptible than others, no cultivar is immune to infection when the pathogen is abundant and conditions are favorable for infection. To minimize stress that may predispose the tree to other disease-causing agents, select varieties adapted to the growing area. Local weather conditions from year to year also affect the amount of fire blight found in a variety.
See CSU extension here for lists of resistant cultivars.
Cultural practices: Minimizing rapid growth and succulent tissue will reduce the risk of fire blight developing on the susceptible young, succulent tissue.
Pruning: Remove all blighted twigs and cankered branches. Prune twigs and branches 8 to 12 inches below the edge of visible infection.
Pruning is best delegated to qualified professional arborists.
Spreading the blight bacteria risk is lowered if pruning is delayed until mid winter. Winter pruning can also be accomplished more efficiently because pruning tools need not be disinfected between cuts if pruning is done when trees are fully dormant.
More resources from CSU extension here.
Concerned about the health of your fruit tree, hawthorn, mountain ash, or american elm? Winter trimming is vital for all of them!
Call ArborScape at 303-806-TREE or click here to schedule your free on-site evaluation and beat the rush!
List of tree varietals susceptibility to fire blight