Fire Blight
Fire Blight
Fire Blight- Symptoms Treatment Management

Fire Blight - Symptoms Treatment and Management

Fire Blight is a highly infectious disease which attacks commercially sensitive apple and pear trees. Given the right conditions, catastrophic infections can happen, destroying entire orchards in a single season. The infection is caused by a bacterium, Erwinia Amylovora. It also infects Hawthorn, quinces, crabapples, pyracantha and other rosaceous plants. Fire Blight does not infect stone fruits such as peaches, cherries and plums.

Below is a short video guide to Fire Blight by US Specialist Dr Daniel Cooley

Fire Blight - Symptoms

  • Flowering blossoms wilt and die
  • A slimy white weeping ooze may exude in wet weather
  • The spreading infection causes the shoots to die along the bark
  • When bark is peeled back, a brownish stain can be seen on the wood
  • Cankers appear where shoots join branches

Fire Blight gets its name from the appearance of the disease. Infected areas appear shrunken, blackened and cracked - almost as if they has been scorched by fire. Initial infection is on open blossoms, new shoots and leaves.

PDFGuide to Fire Blight Identification

How We Can Help

We will positively identify the presence of Fire Blight and recommend a schedule of work to manage the disease. Management of infected trees mainly consists of pruning. The infected bark should be peeled off, reveling the characteristic brown staining. On smaller branches, the cut should be made about 30cm from the infected region, and on larger branches the cut should be made at 60cm. All pruning tools will need to be sterilised between cuts using bleach or meths. Any late summer secondary blossoms will also need to be removed.

Chemical treatment is best used to prevent re-infection. Antibiotics such as Streptomycin or Terramycin can be effective. It has also been found that the spread of the disease can be halted using biological controls such as beneficial bacteria or yeast. Copper based fungicides have also proved useful.

Our Specialist Tree Consultant will recommend the best course of action to deal with Fire Blight. Any cut material will need to be disposed of in a biologically secure way to prevent the disease from spreading. Our recommended Tree Surgeons are Licensed Waste Carriers and can do this for you, or the material can be burnt on site.

Give us a call for some friendly help and advice.

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