Fireblight Disease in Texas
July 22, 2013
As we drive around town, we've noticed Fireblight cropping up in ornamental pears, photinias and other plants. You may have noticed blackened leaves and branches on pears in your area; if so, what you'e seeing is Fireblight disease.
While you'll most often see Fireblight disease on ornamental pears, it can also infect Indian Hawthorn, Loquat, Rose, Photinia and many more species. Plants in the rose family are especially suceptible. Even thought it's called a "blight", this disease is actually caused by a bacteria and it spreads quickly. At first you'll notice what appear to be water-soaked flowers on the plants or trees. Surrounding leaves progressively turn brown with black blotches, then curl and shrivel. Smaller twigs will begin to wilt from the tip, turn black and curl into a hook shape. Then, larger branches develop dark cankers that girdle the branches, which then die.
Trees and shrubs can be infected by the bacteria through existing cankers or bud scars. The bacteria then over-winters and becomes active in spring. An ooze forms which attracts insects that then spread the bacteria through the flowers of the plant. Rainfall and irrigation water droplets can also spread the bacteria which can then infect leaves and young growth. With all the extra rain we've had lately, it's no surpise to see an outbreak of Fireblight.
So, what's to be done about this disease? Once the disease has been identified, it's important to perform sanitation pruning once temperatures have reached about 90 Degrees F and the spread is slowed. Infected branches must be cut off 8 to 12 inches below the visible canker or infection zone. Pruning tools mush be properly sanitized between each cut to prevent further spread of the disease. While it's not always possible to save every tree that is heavily infected with Fireblight, sanitation pruning can often help preserve many trees.
If you have a tree with Fireblight, now is the time to give us a call here at Preservation Tree. Our certified arborists can diagnose your tree and plan a course of action for treatment. You can read more about our approach to tree disease and pests here. Call us at 214-528-2266 or 817-581-4502 or CONTACT US online.
Posted: July 22, 2013