Pear FB Strikes Recommendations Wanted

We (thankfully) don’t have much fireblight here but this year is anything but normal (an understatement for sure). Last week I noticed my Stacey Pear had quite a few FB strikes on spurs. I may have taken off a few black leaves in years past but nothing like this (it’s 17 yrs old). I cut them all out. 2nd year fruiting Summercrisp is doing fine. I’ve noticed many of the wild dogwoods have strikes (I’m assuming - that’s what it looks like).

But today I realized my 40 yr old, 40 ft tall rootstock pear (inedible fruit) is full of strikes, more at the top 2/3 than lower branches. Last year I did have a branch with (I assume) FB that I cut off, but never have seen anything like this before. This tree unfortunately has been showing stress in its top from, I’m guessing, massive amount of woodpecker/sapsucker holes, not leafing out well at the top and going brown early in the fall. It had three trunks so I decided to take down the largest and worst one, which we did when the snow receded. My thought was it might give the rest of the tree more of the resources and the better air circulation might help. Though the next largest trunk is almost as riddled.

I have been thinning out the reachable bottom part of the tree for some years and have a number of grafts growing. This area has fewer strikes, though still plenty, which I cut out, all I could reach (almost all small spurs) with the smaller ladder. Can’t do anything about the majority of the tree which is too high and much worse. But there are some branches sort of inbetween that have a lot of strikes that could be cut off. I hate to take any more wood out (having already removed a good third of the tree this spring) unless it really is going to make a difference, and will it make things worse (pruning off wood now, not just cutting off spurs)?

So, those of you who deal with FB often, do you have full grown trees that manage to overcome FB on their own? I realize every tree is different but just looking for your experience with large trees. Since I can’t cut out all the fireblight do you think it’s worthwhile to cut out what I can? thanks, Sue


I guess I may have been lucky, but never have lost an apple tree to fireblight myself.
Have seen old ‘winesap’ trees with it pretty regular, but they seem to shrug it off. Fuji and Braeburn and a tree I still don’t have a positive ID on are hardly bothered.

Partly is maybe I don’t do a lot of fertilizer…and there is limited growth on most of my older trees. (I fertilize pretty good on newly planted trees.)

Limited experience with pears, but ones I’ve seen live with occasional limbs with fireblight.
Bartlett and Ayers and Maxine and Keiffer seem to live through strikes.


We are similar with how we fertilize. I think it helps.


I don’t have any good suggestions for dealing with your large infected tree. Sometimes big trees survive bad years. I’m adding this link I started a few years back because it has several post about FB.
The dreaded F word (Fireblight) is showing up in our orchards

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Thanks, hopefully these mature trees can make it through, too. Thankfully apples are fine - they bloomed later than the pears. I also don’t fertilize except urine water on young trees. Funny (sort of) we’ve had an unusually dry spring, and I thought FB came with moisture/humidity. But have had record heat (after record cold early May). And cutting out such a large part of the large tree surely added to that one’s stress. It’s mostly a guessing game. Getting some rain now and a short spell of cooler temps so hopefully that will help.