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


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


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.


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


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.




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.


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.


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.


When does FB normally abate?


I did the same with my trees. My guess is that a natural slowdown occurs during this period but I’m still removing most new blooms just to make sure.


I think it’s the natural slowdown. You, I and @Auburn are in the same general area and we’re all experiencing the same thing at the same time. I’ve still got late flowers but those have not been the primary source of infection this year. Instead, it’s been young shoots.


We know FB only attacks rapidly growing tissue which means new growth in the spring and flower buds are highly susceptible. This often brings about confusion because an old orchard frequently gets few strikes as trees slow down and lose vigor. I’ve seen highly susceptible varieties growing along susceptible but resistant varieties such as kieffer and the kieffer get the strikes. It has to do with the trees natural processes with the most susceptible in my observations being the non resistant trees that are young first coming to fruit. Insects, heavy rains, variety, fertilizer, soil types, previous years growth, winter temperatures, summer temperatures, bird migrations, spring frosts, etc. can all be factors. When frosts as an example kill spring blooms the trees at my location have tons of stored energy from an easy winter last year. The trees send out lots of rat tale blooms or some years actual blooms to retaliate for the blooms that were nipped. That longer bloom time accompanied by heavy rains which cause rapid new growth of vegetation makes for the perfect storm almost but if the 17 year cicada or migratory birds showed up it’s like a fire finding gas fumes the Fireblight blows up. Fireblight follows rules but at times we fail to understand what we are looking at. Spraying all the copper or antibiotics in the world won’t save our trees when a 17 year cicada carrying the disease goes from tree to tree making cuts covered in fireblight bacteria! The cicada young burrow into the tree no doubt infected with FB bacteria from the egg slit in the tree. Cutting on FB susceptible trees on a bad year can be a disaster!


Unfortunately my FB seems to be coming back again. I’ve had 1-2 strikes per day for the last few days. Mainly it is showing up in the shoots off of laterals that I previously removed but probably did not cut back far enough. Despite all the FB trouble, I’ve got a good crop on goldrush and williams pride but only 5 apples or so per tree on my other 4 because of FB and also lack of chill causing delayed leaf out. Some branches on my liberty, ark black and king david still don’t have leaves. Goldrush, WP and pricscilla leafed out well for the most part.