Reaction to fire blight

Hi all, last year I planted 4 apple trees (pristine, liberty, gold rush, and sweet sixteen). They all got what I think was fire blight. I pruned them fairly aggressively but think I missed some. They are only whips with some branching started although most of the branching was pruned. My questions are 1. Should I prune them back to whips or can I keep scaffolds if they don’t show signs of blight? 2. Should I avoid fertilizers (worm castings) this year? 3. Is there an organic/ holistic spray I can use? The trees are in well drained, very alkaline(8-8.5) soil and only received 4-5 hours of sun last year. Next month I’m cutting a few trees that will get them 2 more hours of sun a day. Thanks.

How good is air circulation near the apples? Is two more hours of sun the max you can arrange?

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I believe the anti-biotic spray for FB was Organic, but only during bloom which your trees likely won’t be doing.

Various copper and sulfur sprays help.

Serenade, which is a pro-biotic that prevents FB and other diseases from attaching to the plant is organic and is supposed to help with FB, but must be put on before the FB spores are flying…

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Air circulation is fair.They’re on top of a hill but have wooded area to the south and west. I will try to open it up a little also. I will re- assess the sun situation when the trees leave and remove additional trees if necessary. They are primarily black cherries that the waxwings love so I want to leave as many as possible.

I use Serenade and copper for my fireblight prevention. After experiencing fireblight damage several years ago it is always on my mind right after the trees bloom. Bill

I’m in the process of grafting in these three varieties into my small orchard. Each of them are suppose to have some resistance to fireblight so it caught my attention when you posted it. The times I have had fireblight appeared to be from the insects carrying it from bloom to bloom. This is not the only transmission method but for me it seems to be the most common way. I’m assuming that these trees have not flowered yet. Just a few of my thoughts. Hope you get it under control. Bill

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Knock wood, my Pristine has never had fireblight. But I spray. You can spray minimally and still fight fireblight.

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Being as how you “think” it might be fire blight and the most of your varieties tend to show good fire blight resistance, my first step would be to confirm fire blight. Your pH is likely going to be problematic as well, especially if 8.5 is closer to the actual.


Not sure but the leaves browned and the tips of the branches turned black, curled over and frayed. The weird thing is similar things happened to other trees of mine including a McCay peach, North Star cherry, paw paws and even a nanking cherry.