Fire Blight: Now is the Time to Prevent!
March 14, 2014
Did you see the Bradford Pears begin to bloom around town?
The photo shows how they are supposed to look right now. Well…the last freeze we had was pretty rough on them and almost all of their blooms were damaged. So you’re probably seeing a lot of “brown” Bradford pears now.
Pears do bloom early and so there is always a risk their blooms may be damaged by a frost. Usually, we get to enjoy their burst of white blooms for a couple weeks. Now, we just need to move on to thinking about how to keep our pears healthy.
Fire Blight is a disease that impacts pears and related species such as apples. It is a bacterial disease caused by the pathogen . Transmission of the disease is very difficult to prevent, as its spread by honeybees, insects, birds, wind, and rain.
Fire blight will make leaves and branches turn almost black, and growth will be shrunken and cracked. It does look like your plant has been burned by fire. These signs will begin at the ends of the branches and move down the tree towards the root system.
Over-pruning and over-fertilization with synthetic Nitrogen fertilizers (that are often used on lawns) cause the trees to put out watersprouts, making them more susceptible to fire blight.
The disease is systemic and bacteria can overwinter in your trees. It becomes active once temperatures warm up in spring. Once the disease is active, it can very quickly kill your tree. Basically, once it’s obvious your tree is infected, it’s difficult to save it. The best medicine is preventative treatments.
You’ll often see Bradford pears being treated with a spray to try and treat for fire blight. Unfortunately, this method is rarely effective. Preservation Tree uses an environmentally friendly approach to aide in the prevention of Fire blight. We inject a treatment directly into the vascular system that acts quickly to minimize the effects of fire blight. Remember, fire blight is a bacterial disease: Pesticides used to treat fungal diseases won't be effective.
Now is the time to treat for fire blight. Don’t wait until you see signs of this disease…it will be too late!