Does Vase Shape (Apple Tree) Reduce Fire Blight?

Saw something today that said in fire blight country train apples to vase shape and avoid central leader. Does anyone out there follow this idea? Does it help?

Keeping apples shorter (easier to trim off Fireblight strikes) and more open centered (better airflow and less dampness) would make sense. Shorter trees are easy to pick apples and don’t require special equipment. Sprays even if organic reach the branches better when the center is kept open. There are several people on here better qualified to answer other strategies and designs in pruning. I don’t take my own advice on keeping trees short in many cases because I love big trees and their production. Back to your original question , Hour glass is the most common type of pruning but not everyone is sold on it. Vase shaped pruning produces apples faster because getting branches horizontal instead of vertical is important. Once the tree begins producing apples there is less new growth which is a good thing when preventing Fireblight. Blooms can be a problem because when the fruit tree begins to bloom that is another entry point for Fireblight. Old pears with tough bark around here never seem to get Fireblight unless they are pruned and new growth is caused.

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Fireblight starts on the tips which are usually well exposed to light. I think the point of an open center is so FB will begin farther from the trunk and you are more likely to lose only the scaffold instead of the whole tree. That has been the explanation I’ve read for the purpose of multi-leader pear trees.

I’ve read plenty of scholarly articles about fire blight and never encountered an emphasis on maintaining open, well ventilated trees as is often suggested for fungal issues. This proves nothing but is suggestive, at least.


Thanks Alan and Clark.