Late season Fireblight

I noticed a lot of late season fire blight this year I’m still trying to clean up on my pear & apple trees. We had a moist spring and summer but it has been dry for awhile now. I attribute it to insects aka 17 year cicada, birds, wind damage, second season bloom to name a few. Anyone else in the Midwest have similar problems? Had another tree sudden killed to the ground for the second year in a row due to fireblight.

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Clark, did you do any summer pruning that may have contributed to the fb? After a pretty massive fb outbreak at my place during the spring that killed 7 of my apple trees and wounded most of the others I held off on any summer pruning and have not seen fb return this year. Even though I want to summer prune in the future to to keep the tree size down I am gun shy about doing anything that could entice fb.

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No I did not but the cicadas in combination with wind pruned a lot of trees. Like you I don’t do summer pruning anymore. Below are pictures of the damage which I attribute to the 17 year cicada.

At first it looks like standard Fireblight but in all cases from this morning cicada damage is in the same place. The damage likely gave the Fireblight bacteria when at its peak numbers an entry point
My conclusion is cicada in my situation appear to have indirectly caused significant Fireblight damage.

It’s cold today so when I spotted this branch I snapped it off ASAP and will burn it. I brought the branch in to try and get a better picture to demonstrate the damage. I take off an extra 10"- 12" of branch when I see Fireblight like this.

Once I’ve removed damage branches I will spray the tree with a 50/50 white vinegar / water solution.

More of the same type of Fireblight damage on a European pear this time. The last pictures were Kieffer pears.

For anyone who might be new to the forum I will explain the differences in European pears and those pears hybridized with sand pear genetics. KIeffer is blight resistant and crossed between the Asian sand pear and Bartlett. Peter Kieffer in 1863 released the hybrid for sale. The Bartlett on the other hand is a European pear and it’s more of a dessert pear and European pears are not blight resistant. Kieffer ripens a month after Bartlett. Pear trees such as Douglas appear to be a cross between Kieffer and European pears based on foliage and blight resistance. Most of the sand pear crosses are rounder than normal European pears and more gritty and less dessert like. Here is an article that may be helpful if your looking for additional information on which pears to plant and their characteristics . Fire blight is an old problem as the experts of years past describe in articles such as this one . This article confirms my hypothesis about insects being a spreading agent When it comes to selecting fire blight resistant varieties I always look at what they are doing in southern states where they have even more problems with fireblight than they do in Kansas When I get my scion wood to graft I try and get it from the North where conditions are unfavorable for fire blight. This is an interesting video if you have time to watch it and you want to grow pears or apples organically and control fire blight


I seem to have dodged the late season fireblight on my pears this year. Copper helped significantly this year in controlling early season fireblight.

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This year (2018 and in 2017) I dodged late season fireblight again. Cicada were the only thing that changed in 2015. Fireblight is a mysterious disease and certainly we will see it again but in the meantime I’m enjoying the drought in Kansas and the lack of 17 year cicada. If I’m growing pears in this location in another 14 years I will have copper & antibiotic on those trees long before I see my first cicada!

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One of my hewes Virginia crabs has a habit of popping flower buds at off times, like late fall or late winter.

This is a picture of a bud that popped in a warm stretch in early February.

This one just recently popped.

Are these spots showing Fireblight damage? Or is it just damage to the tissue from emerging at the wrong time of year?

Those spots are rust.

Thank you clarkins! I was nearly certain that the spots on the leaves were rust, but I didn’t know it could affect undeveloped flower buds as well? So the damage to the bark is caused by the rust? Thanks again for responding. I know that you are (unfortunately) our premier expert on Fireblight :slightly_frowning_face:

The blossoms are a different disease which is blossom blast or fireblight. The spots only are the rust. If the infection is not as extensive it was likely blossom blast whereas fireblight kills the branch and leaves the characteristic Shepard hook at the tip of the branch.

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