How to Treat & Prevent Fire Blight in Your Organic Orchard

How to Treat & Prevent Fire Blight in Your Organic Orchard

Hi, I’m Tricia, an organic gardener I grow
organically. For healthy and safe food supply. For a
clean and sustainable environment. For an enjoyable and rewarding
experience. Fire blight is a severe disease that can
affect pears, apples, and crabapples. While there’s no real cure for it you can prevent it and I’ll show you how.
Fire blight is caused by an infection of the bacteria Erwinia amylovora. There are several phases of fire blight.
The first phase is in early spring and it’s called
blossom blight, the next phase happens in May and June in his shoot blight. It can then progress
to canker and collar blight. The bacteria over winters in previous
infections and then when the spring is warm it
starts to ooze, the bacterial ooze is attractive to insects which spread it to blossoms. When the
blossoms are wetted the bacteria travels into the nectary of
the flower and infects it. Once the blossom is
infected it spreads down the stem into the
shoots and then eventually into the mature wood. Often susceptible rootstocks like M9 and M26 will catch fire blight and the resultant cankers will girdle the
tree. Fire blight need specific conditions to
thrive, warm weather between 65 and 75 degrees, and moisture from either rain or dew. To
prevent fire blight pay attention to the weather. Several
organizations have been tracking fire blight
conditions to come up with action thresholds. Use the CougarBlight model in the West
and the Maryblyt model for use in the east. Check out her blog for more information
on how to use these models. There’s some organic controls that are
labeled to control fire blight and one of them is Serenade. These products usually need to be applied either before or at first sign of infection.
The first line of defense is to plant resistant varieties apples and pears and this will vary from
region to region. So check with your master gardeners or
your local ag extension for suggestions. Another way to prevent
fire blight is to avoid over fertilization. Fire
blight spreads rapidly through young vigorous growth stimulated by too much nitrogen. Check out our video on fertilizing fruit trees
to learn how to properly fertilize. In warm wet springs that favor fire blight monitor your trees carefully for blossom
blight and then later for shoot blight. Prune off any signs a blight as soon
as you see them in spring and into the summer. This is especially critical early in the
season and on dwarf trees prune 8 to 12 inches below the strike short turning is one of the major
reasons the disease persists. Clean your pruners with rubbing alcohol
after each cut. Dispose of any of the wood that you’ve cut off and don’t
compost it. Fire blight control continues into the dormant season during the dormant season look for
blighted branches and cankers. Remove a canker by scraping up on the
discolored word and six to eight inches more beyond the
infection down to the cambium layer. If the area
that needs to be scraped is more than fifty percent of the limbs
circumference then the whole limb should be removed. Don’t wait around for this aggressive
disease. Treat it preventively and effectively and
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12 thoughts on “How to Treat & Prevent Fire Blight in Your Organic Orchard

  • HA!  I just did a similar video on blight, I have 2 infected pear trees and used streptomycin, your tips are all right on, I should have been spraying when they were dormant and at first sign of budding.   Thx for the share Trish, I will pray for your trees they look worse off then mine. God bless.

  • Great video! I just bough a house that has two fruit trees and this weekend I noticed the apple tree was looking sick. I think this video is going to help me nurse the tree back to health.

  • Is fire blight and peach leaf curl a big problem down here in Southern California? Does fire blight also infect peaches and plums too? Would you advise spraying horticultural oil's and fungicides together in the same solution when spraying trees and even before there are any signs of diseases on the trees, just incase?

  • I've had tremendous success with OPTICOP, which I got from my gardening center. For my one pear tree I applied it heavily and repeatedly with a spray bottle. I make the branches drip. There has been no problem for over two years. The garden center staff recommended Opticop very highly. It was a little spendy but the bottle dilutes into several seasons of spray. I measure for the solution very accurately.

    Also, sterilizing your tools can be done with a spray bottle. If you use bleach, you need not use it straight. A 25% solution should be fine. Any brand of bleach will do. Just regular bleach. If you like rubbing alcohol, then put that in a spray bottle. No diluting necessary. I saw on Youtube where a man did his tool sanitizing with Lysol spray. This has worked for me very well.
    When finished, remember to lube your sanitized tools with WD•40.

  • My crabapple has dry, brown leaves all through it. We haven't gotten a heavy rain in some time and I haven't watered it because it's been in the ground 5 years already and I thought it was established and could fend for itself. Other than that, it doesn't have the crook stems resembling a hook, nor are they black, it doesn't have cankers on the stems or anywhere else on the tree, and there's no oozing anywhere. Could it still be fireblight? Or could it be what I initially thought, which is water deprivation?

  • I have a pear farm in Egypt and suffers a lot from fire blight.
    Can you recommend me and chemicals as treatment or prevention.
    Thank you

  • I am glad you recommended to not fertilize. In my opinion, Any fungcide is going to hurt your "organic" garden. We need the good fungus to fight off the bad! BTW fire blight is a bacterial infection.

  • ProTrees
    6 minutes ago
    Mostly great info but the problem with your tree starts with the roots and how you irrigate the trees. Lets try to solve the problem vs. "treating" the symptoms. lets go beyond "organic"


  • I think I have this problem and it strikes the baby fruit nubs just after blossom they just seem to die and drop off and the leaves then suffer the fire blight symptoms. I spray with soapy water with some bicarb but it still happens.

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