The dreaded F word (Fireblight) is showing up in our orchards

Have a confession about cutting out FB which is I never really cut out fireblight. I break the branch off typically and then cut off a little more so my pruners never touch the fireblight. It’s just something I do and never saw anyone else do it then I disinfect the pruners. When I see people wipe the pruners with alcohol that just touched the fireblight I always think it’s not enough.


I often do the same thing, but I break off most of branch, so there’s
no need to prune at all. It’s the lazy man’s way of pruning off strikes,
when I don’t have pruners with me.


I’ve seen university recommendations that said ripping out the smaller strikes is a preferred method because it’s less likely to spread the bacteria. Many people probably don’t cut back far enough and don’t sterilize well enough between cuts. So they are just spreading it around.

1 Like

What’s the latest on Geneva breeding work to bring Kazakstan blight resistance/immunity into our domestic U.S. apple varieties? Is this a 20 or 30 year project?


I think there was an article about along these lines in Good Fruit Grower recently, but they were trying to breed in resistance to post-harvest disorders. They were using genetic markers to speed up their breeding efforts.

I would suspect it would be faster with CRISPR/Cas9, but some folks would probably get their panties all in a bunch because it is genetic modification (even though the genes would be going from apple to apple). So for now, everything has to advance at the pace of conventional breeding.

1 Like

I grafted several Kazakstan apples this year with hopes I start getting more apples in general. Kansas is not a great place to grow apples due largely to very high disease pressure. My thought is better to get some Kazakstan apples that don’t get fireblight than to keep trying really hard to raise apples that don’t do well here. Largely @BobVance inspired my requesting these apples from the USDA. I’m going to cross them ASAP with my seedlings. I lost one of my seedlings last year but I have friends with backup grafts and fortunately I backup grafted that one New Apple Seedling Varieties

1 Like

From what I can see, I’ve got fruit on 10-11 of the Kazakhstan varieties this year. I’m excited to finally try some and will post pics and descriptions. But for 4-5 of those, they are on last year’s grafts, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I don’t get a particularly large/accurate sample. I have a tree-full for one of the varieties though…

This was the first year in a while that I didn’t add any. I figured that a dozen varieties was enough for now.

I may get some of each of the 3 seedlings you sent me last spring as well. In fact, of ~30 apple varieties I added last year, only one didn’t bloom.


What rootstock did you use?

What brand is that fertilizer Richard?

I used established trees. In the case of the below grafts, I used a 5 year old Egremnont Russet on B9/B118 roots.

Your “clustering crab” seedling, living up to it’s name:

Albion (3 circles around the apple clusters- there is another near by hand, outside the pic, at the other tip). You can also see a few Egremont Russets near the graft union.:


I have been fortunate to not see any FB in my orchard this year. It was my first year of spraying with copper.

I also removed a loquat tree which typically seemed to be a FB magnet.

1 Like

No FB seen this morning but we have had several inches of rain so we will see if the no FB continues.

@danchappell – The fertilizer is:
Grow More “Fruit Fuel” 16-8-24

1 Like

I only have experience with apples. FB is really hard on new apple trees when it infects the leader.
I would not do anything until I was 100% confident the problem is FB.

If its FB, you can cut the leader 12 inches or more below the infection and take your chances or you can not cut the leader and you take your chances. I had good success when I had to cut a bunch of leaders a few years ago.

Don’t cut if its wet or rain is predicted.

1 Like



quote=“clarkinks, post:76, topic:10986”]
. When I see people wipe the pruners with alcohol that just touched the fireblight I always think it’s not enough

You are correct in your comment on alcohol.

The wet alcohol needs to be in contact with the microbe for at least 30 seconds for it to kill it.

Wiping is better than not but it essentially serves as a mechanical cleaning and not a disinfecting.



Thank you for confirming that. I feel like many of people are spreading diseases in their orchard not realizing that.


Just when I thought that my last FB strike had occurred for the year I found one small limb of shoot blight on my Gala. Snapped it off promptly. Overall if think I have been able to remove the strikes quickly but I just don’t see my intense removable being applicable to larger scale plantings. When I buy fruit from a orchard or from a store it is much easier now to see why fruit can be pricey.

1 Like

Use 2 or 3 pruners while alternating them. One is in use while the other(s) are disinfecting.


The places that grow a lot of gala do not have the FB issues that you do in your location. I’m told some have very little to worry about.

1 Like

My fb strikes have really slowed down this week. We had tons of rain last week but very few strikes. I got serious about stripping off all of the new flowers. Either that helped or it coincided with a natural slowdown.