Fire blight is a bacterial disease that primarily affects fruit trees in the rose family, including apples, ornamental and fruiting pears, and hawthorn trees. The disease causes cankers on the trunks and branches as severe dieback on the branches. Affected branches become blackened and shriveled with a scorched appearance. If left untreated, the tree may die and the disease will spread to other landscape trees and plants.
1. Fall Leaf Cleanup
Fallen leaves and twigs of affected trees are often badly infested with the bacteria that causes fire blight. If left on the ground, the blight can re-infest the tree and spread to other plants nearby. Composting the fallen leaves is also a bad idea unless you know your pile gets hot enough to kill the blight-causing bacteria; otherwise, you will spread blight-infested compost over your gardens next year. Dispose of the cleaned-up leaves instead.
2. Winter Maintenance Pruning
The best time to trim out blight-infested branches is in the winter when both the tree and the blight are dormant. When pruning an infected branch, it must be cut off to at least one growing node below the nearest blight-infested wood. This helps ensure that all wood containing the blight bacteria is removed, thus reducing the chances of continued infection.
3. Emergency Trimming
Although it's best to prune in winter, in some cases, it's a good idea to break the rule. If you see the first signs of fire blight on a branch tip, cut it off well below the infected area. It doesn't matter the season in this case as you are trying to stop an infection before it has a chance to spread. You can also trim out any branches that have been killed by blight so that they don't pose a fall risk, regardless of the season.
4. Increase Sanitation
Take extra time to clean your pruning tools between cuts. When trimming a tree with suspected fire blight, sterilize the shears or pruning saw by dipping it in diluted bleach between every cut. This prevents the spread of the bacteria to any healthy branches or plants.
5. Remove Main Vectors
Sometimes a tree can't be saved from fire blight, while in other cases the risk to neighboring trees isn't worth the attempt to save a single infected tree. Removing the most severely infected trees may help prevent the blight from spreading throughout your yard or neighborhood. Opt for professional removal that includes removal of all infected material.
Contact a tree service in your area if you need help when it comes to combating fire blight and similar tree diseases.
Spring is a breathtakingly beautiful time of the year. During this special season, I adore looking at the beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers in my front and back yards. Perhaps you want to enhance the appearance of your outdoor property this spring. Consider hiring a professional landscaper to help you accomplish this important task. An expert landscaper can plant fruit trees in your space. For instance, you might want this individual to plant apple, pear, peach, or orange trees on your property. You may also wish for this professional to plant attractive shrubs in front of your home. On this blog, I hope you will discover how a landscaper can help you have a spectacular spring. Enjoy!