Fireblight emergency surgery?

My 2nd leaf proscilla apple on g-41 had fireblight on a new scaffold. I cut it way back but not far enough. Now I see it under the bark of the main trunk at the base of the branch. It is probably 1/4 of the way around the trunk. Should i cut around the infected main trunk bark, remove it, and spray the area with something eg copper?

If it’s already in the main trunk, you may have to cut the trunk
below the infection.

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I think cutting it out and spraying may be your best chance to save the tree. If that does not work, then it will come to what Rayrose said.

However I have seen trees recover from FB, even when it had spread into the main trunk. That tree (a Lodi) has since recovered and done well. I have not seen any new FB infections but I do use copper spray and keep a close eye on it. To be fair, I am not in an area where FB is a serious problem, which may explain my luck with this tree…

Thanks for the input. Looking at it more closely, this was a bud that I notched this spring and a branch formed. I think the infection may have started at the notch wound. I may cut it out and spray with copper but I’m not sure if the copper would hurt the tree if applied where bark has been removed. Priscilla is supposed to be fb resistant. We’ll see.

Resistant doesn’t mean immune.

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I heard that rayrose.

It does not appear any worse after a couple of days. It actually looks slightly better with no more active ooze, just a bit of dried ooze. Not sure if that means anything or not. I may hold tight for a couple more days and see what happens. Here’s a couple photos. The red dots outline the extent of the visible infection. It may extend way beyond that but I don’t know.

By the way, aside from possible FB entry point, notching above the buds really worked. About 80% of the notched buds forced a branch, and those branches grow fast. In contrast, most of the un-notched main trunk buds have not even leafed out yet. This has really helped my blind wood and excessive leader growth problem. Now if only I can keep this tree alive. I’ve cut out a few other minor FB strikes on other trees, but the cutting has seemed to stop them. Another plus is I have around 30 apples bagged on my six 2nd leaf trees.

Whack the trunk 6" below the infection. Cutting the FB out will mean girdling the trunk most of the way anyway, with no guarantee of getting it all.

Fireblight is bacterial, so if you have any apples or pears nearby that might be susceptible, I’d cut the trunk below the infection as rayrose suggested. That would eliminate this source of potential infection for other trees. From what I’ve read fireblight infections also depend on temperature and humidity, so maybe my reasoning is wrong, depending on your conditions.

That was the lowest branch haha. I have five other trees spaced 4 ft apart. Ok I probably need to hack it off. Dangit. I did not spay at all for fb. No strep no copper. I will start with the copper this winter.

Fireblight has hit one of my trees hard this year. I’ve scouted almost daily, pruning off everything that looked like blight, but still two of my main scaffold branches have cankers. These pics are from smaller branches I removed yesterday.

A resistant scion on a resistant stock, and you still got hit. That sucks.

Here is a series of videos you might enjoy watching, if you haven’t already seen them. In solidarity:


Thanks for the videos, Matt. My fireblight problems are nothing compared to that guy’s issues.

Update: of course I couldnt follow good advice from the gurus and hack my main trunk back. I’ll probably pay for it eventually. I ended up cutting out the canker which girdled it 2/3 of the way around. So far so good. No fb sightings and no more ooze on this tree since. Should I use a prunong sealer on it?

A similar problem has popped up on my ark black on g41. I have yet to take action.

Hope the surgery on your tree works. The FB I have seen mostly but not exclusively started at bloom time. With the assumption that it has not bloomed yet I’m wondering if the tree had the canker when you purchased it. My efforts are focused on prevention because as you can see cutting it out can destroy a tree or severely set it back. I thought I would share what I do due to us both being located in a close proximity. Right before fruit buds open I spray with copper/oil. When the flowers are in bloom I think most people spray with antibiotics which is probably the safest way (not me I use serenade). I’m not sure long term how my method will work but I have been clean of FB for the last three years. Most of my apple and pear trees as is yours have some FB resistance and I think for our area that gives us a better chance against FB. If you decide to get into growing pears and grafting let me know and I can provide some FB resistant scions. Bill

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Bill I’m going to try your approach next year, since my fireblight definitely hits at bloom time and our climate/geography/locations are very similar. Can you explain exactly the copper/oil mix you are using that’s been so successful?

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I will be glad to share. I will also post some pictures of the containers. As fruit growing goes I’m still relatively new at it but I’m of the belief if your getting pretty good results keep doing what your doing. Three years is certainly not long enough to form any real reliable conclusions on the effectiveness of what I’m doing. I might just have a lucky streak. It will be later today or tomorrow before I post more details. Bill


My problems started on about 2 foot long new shoots rather than through blossoms. These new shoots started at places on the trunk that I notched prior to bud break this spring. I never saw the classic wilting, just a leaf or two and a liitle ooze. By the time I realized what it was it was already in the trunk. Maybe it started at the notch.


This is my approach to controlling FB and CAR. I’m not recommending this because I have only been following this approach for three years. If anyone else decides to give it a try I hope you will post your results.

Oil/Sulfur Spray
Right before my first apples and pears are in the loose cluster stage I spray all my trees with a mixture of copper and oil from top to bottom of the trunk. The younger trees that aren’t blooming also get sprayed the same way at the same time. I have several multi-grafted trees so I can’t simply wait for that ideal time for cluster growth, which is a weakness of having several varieties on one tree.

Serenade Spray (I think most use antibiotics but not me)
My opinion is that this is a critical stage for FB to spread and as soon as I see the first apple or pear flowers open I start directly spraying the open flower only unless it is one of my varieties that is prone to CAR in which case I spray the leaves of these at this time (I have two unknown crabs that get it the worst). I repeat every two days until flowering has stopped. My bloom range is wide but with my small amount of trees (about 25) it only takes me about 20 minutes a day to mix and spray Serenade. It doesn’t take long because I’m mostly only spraying the flowers. I have been using the same bottle of Serenade for the last three years but I’m using a little more now and will order more before next season.

Other Notes
-I’m considering adding another spraying of Oil/Sulfur spray as soon as my trees go dormant.
-My Oil/Sulfur is mixed together according to container directions
-Watch for summer blooms and cut out as soon as they are seen. I’m not spraying anything at this time so it is easier just to remove the entry point.
-Most of but not all my varieties are advertised to have some FB resistance but we all know that they can also succumb to the disease at certain times.

This is my approach to controlling FB and CAR. I’m not recommending this because I have only been following this approach for three years. If anyone else decides to give it a try I hope you will post your results.





Thanks Bill. Very clear and helpful.

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Haldog, I had one that looked like that on my Ark Black. It oozed early on and turned black then the dead tissue fell off and the tree tried to close up the hole. No ooze since June but it did not close it off completely as you can see, although it got close and is now starting to look better. Is this something that will come back with a vengeance this spring or do these sort of cases tend to go away as the tree closes it off? As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I completely cut out a similar (but more oozing and spreading) canker on the priscilla last June and it looks better now and I have seen no ooze since I did the surgery. I left the canker on the Ark Black to see what happens. Here’s the current Ark Black photo:

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