Fire Blight is a bacterial disease spread from tree to tree during blossom by pollinating insects, birds, and raindrops. Fire Blight infects Apple trees, Ornamental Crabapple, Pear, Mountain Ash, Cotoneasters, and other various Ornamental trees.
Symptoms of Fire Blight include dieback of branches from the outer tip inward. The leaves appear to have wilted and dried on the branch and remain attached (twigs, leaves, and fruit give the appearance of being scorched by fire. The twigs and branches will be discolored, blackened, and dying. Symptoms start to appear shortly after petal fall and continue until midsummer. Over Winter Fire Blight bacteria will infect twigs and branches.
Upon diagnosing Fire Blight, the infected twigs and branches must be pruned out of the tree. Infected branches need to be pruned approximately six inches into the uninfected part of the branch. Pruning tools must be disinfected between each cut (use a 2% Clorox solution or another quality disinfectant). Pruning is the only solution for trees bearing edible fruit. Ornamental trees should be pruned after being diagnosed with Fire Blight in the Summer.
Trees that are susceptible to Fire Blight can be treated for suppression of the disease. Suppression is performed by a plant health care professional that will apply a systemic bacteriacide. This application will be applied as a Bark Band spray on the trunk of the tree and will translocate through the flowing tissue of the tree all the way up to the terminal branch tips. A quality fertilizing program is recommended for ornamental trees in late Fall or early Spring to increase the overall health and vigor of the tree.
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We specialize in caring for plants in the Black Hills.