Fireblight destruction from 2023 - 2024

2024 was so bad many fully grown pear trees were killed to the rootstock or to the ground. I’m thankful for what I learned in 2024. The new variant of fireblight hit me hard. It completely made much of the fireblight research from Universities worthless. It killed two Sunrise pears to the ground including rootstock. I have one remaining. I’m experimenting with Bells choices now for fireblight resistant types. Ayers, my small yellow pear, warren and others seem fine. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to help all of you find more varities like the 3 I mentioned. @k8tpayaso was hit by the severe new strain of fireblight several years ago. Once your hit by it you won’t forget it. Many so called fireblight resistant pears will be dead. Thanks @k8tpayaso for telling us about it after you were hit with it in Texas. It hit Missouri and Kansas very hard. I’m assuming it is in Oklahoma and Arkansas as well. Like @k8tpayaso brought up in some soils ayers can have an off flavor. In my soil it is melting and delicious all years but 1 in the last 29 years. Ayers sibling tenn has much more likelihood of having that off flavor. Both are highly disease resistant but not immune to fireblight.

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I have 2 kieffer trees… imp kieffer and kieffer… grafted onto callery rootstock.

And have a graft of bell pear growing this year that I intend to graft onto my kieffers next spring.

My trees are young… just developing scaffold branches this year… no blossoms this spring… no fire blight.

I had 6 apple trees blooming this year… one of those a flowering crab.

5 of them got covered in FB strikes. Only the flowering crab got none.

4 of those I have removed… 1 remains…

Novamac on B9 espellar… it had 4 espellar branches about 4 ft long each and each of those branches had 4 or 5 hits of FB on individual fruit spurs. I simply removed the affected fruit spurs.

Hoping its rating of very resistent to FB means… it will be able to survive this. No other FB strikes have shown up… and the tree still looks good and remaining apples are sizing up… growing nicely.

Hope it makes it.

Did you have any kieffer pear trees ?
Just wondering how mine might have done if they had been blooming this year.

Thanks
TNHunter

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I’ve had to take out my Orient and Kiefer pears and all my apples. I have a Red Asian pear that is young and has not been affected. I also have some grafted Asian pears that I’ve had to prune hard and may end up having to remove. At some point I’m going to have to get the gigantic Callery pear tree that is carrying it removed but it’s going to be a job bigger than two old people can do.

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Hmmmmm… your kieffer and orient got wiped out by FB.

I was planning to graft bell and orient to my kieffers. Thought they were known to be quite resistent to FB.

Sounds like I may need to graft over my kieffers with bell and ?

What else would you recommend ?

Ayers, yellow pear ?

Thanks
TNHunter

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Our Ayers remains leafless. Green, limber and utterly without leaf. A 4 year old zombie apparently.

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Only fireblight I’ve seen this year is on Carmen Jewell cherry (assuming that is what is killing the branch ends). I’ve removed all the infected branches yesterday. I did spray Fertilome and chlorothalonil on pears and apples but not on cherries.

Sorry to hear your news Trev! I hope your remaining apple can make it for you. So far I have not had to deal with it, but my Frost peach tree may not survive a PLC attack, this being its first year to bear fruit. Its rumored resistance may be proven folly so only time will tell. Not much I can do but hope it survives so I can treat it while dormant. The other malady here is Verticillium wilt which is taking on of my top worked cherry trees out. Will removed it this fall as time permits.
If I may ask, which apple varieties did you need to remove?
Dennis
Kent, Wa

@DennisD … I removed Gold Rush, Hudson Golden Gem, Akane, Early Mcintosh.

Kept Novamac B9 Espellar.

I have 2 year old Early Mcintosh and Novamac at my new home site… that were not blooming yet and were not affected.

I have had a lot of pest pressure the last few years on my apples… per mamung… i have plum curculio (or something like that) making all those v shapes cuts in my apples… and i have coddling moth… probably apple maggot too.

The future of growing apples here looks bleak.

I may just replace the two at my new home place with mulberries, pawpaws, medlar, jujube… something that does not get fire blight and does not have a multitude of pest just wating to wreck them.

In my retirement years… i want my fruit growing to be much more problem free. Also want to eliminate anything that requires a tall ladder for pruning, thinning, etc.

If I do continue to grow a apple tree or two… will most likely be on Bud 9 Espellar.

Thanks
TNHunter

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If you decide to keep your other apple trees You might start using Surround WP for the fly maggot and the bug zapper for codling moth which also takes care of a lot of mosquitoes which you probably have there! I don’t have Plum curculio experience, but think the Surround WP might discourage them some if you get a good coating on the fruit. All my apples have been trained down low enough for me to easily see and reach each fruit for spraying and assuring they are well coated with Surround. So I don’t have to bother with more laborious methods such as bagging! The bug zapper does wonders, one of my best decisions to buy!
Best wishes
Dennis

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@DennisD … a friend of our family bought a home a couple years ago… that has a apple tree in the front yard.

Despite them doing nothing at all to it… no pruning, no thinning, no spraying, no nothing… it produces some nice apples.

Not sure what it is… while visiting with them early last summer noticed the tree and it was loaded with nice absolutely clean green apples.

I picked one and tried it… it was not ripe and was quite tart as expected but was not bad considering it was not near ripe.

They said the apples start out green like that… but when they ripen they get a bit of yellow/red on them.

They like the taste and eat them fresh and make a few pies and fried apples with them.

I talked to them yesterday (members of our Church)… and they said the tree has lots of apples on it again this year. I described to them what FB strikes look like and they checked it and reported back… no FB strikes.

This has given me a little hope that I may have found a apple in my own county that is quite pest and disease resisstent. They said I am welcome to collect scion from it this winter.

I will give it a try here and see how it works out.

Anyone know what variety that might be ?

Pretty sure it ripens late summer.
Size and shape wise… the apple was very similar to my Early Mcintosh apple. The tree is around 18 ft tall and wide. Looks like it has never been pruned but still produces good fruit.

Thanks
TNHunter

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sorry to hear that Clark. thankfully you have many more so you still get pears. i had 2 cankers on my sleeping housi pear that might have been f.b… luckily it was still dormant and the cankers were near the tip so i only lost about 5in. of wood. on a positive note your crab is loaded with blooms and its only 40in tall. has great scaffolds so should easily handle the load. i piled about a ft. of goat bedding around it last fall. many of my other trees are producing for the 1st time so plenty of pollination going on. we’ve had a dry spring so far so disease pressure should be low. should be a good season.

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Once they ripen I can compare a pic with mine that have similar colors suggest posting a pic then with size reference, someone will probably know, sounds like a keeper
Dennis

Wow. I thought Hudson’s Golden Gem was supposed to be a tough resistant apple.

When do they ripen? Sounds like Pristine or Antonovka.

Looks like I will have to replant some scions next year. Fireblight is killing a lot of buds and young leaves on a number of them.

Hit them with a daykins bleach mix; but it’s too late I fear.

@steveb4

I realize the mistakes i made and things I did right. That is the first step in fixing a problem like fireblight.

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Well shoot. Just bought a Sunrise this year. One of my Korean Giants had 50% fb on new growth. Dripping Honey 50% but have a few fruit hanging on. Ayers had 15%. Just 1 small branch on Warren. Chojuro 25%. Hosui 15%. Warm wet spring here in North TX.

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Whats a bug zapper?

Whats a bug zapper

Something to keep away from the porch and cooking areas. And also kill as many if not more beneficial insects.