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


Nearly a year after writing the note about a fire blight strike on what I had purchased as Medaille d’Or, I should note it definitely is NOT that cultivar. My best guess so far is Twenty Ounce. Since its bloom time was quite late and there is literature to suggest 20 Oz. blooms much earlier, I bow to superior knowledge in identifying this enormous, shiny green apple with burgundy blotching. I hope to take some samples to the Home Orchard Society Fall Fruit gathering next October and see what the sages decide. (There is family in.near Portland, OR, so I can see them, too!)

This spring shapes up to be quite different from last year: the next week will be in the 70s and we haven’t seen rain for 8 days already. Perhaps this provisionally earmarked “Twenty Ounce/Blessing” will dodge the FB bullet this time around.


I have been pretty lucky avoiding FB through the years. While doing my daily orchard walk through today I noticed two small strikes on a Goldrush limb. These were promptly removed and I will be even more vigilant for the next few weeks. Hoping for another mild FB year.


I was able to get good fruit set on my early goldrush and king david blooms and am now in flower picking mode. I don’t want any more flowers opening as the weather warms. I have cut off three strikes on king david but they were on new growth on the ends of last year’s layerals which are low risk strikes. I’ve been selective on which blooms i will allow, picking off most of the blooms along the length of last year’s wood, especially if that wood originates close to the trunk. Hopefully this approach will reduce chances of FB entering the trees.


My favorite apple, an unknown local heirloom, is being devastated by fireblight. I’m pruning at the very first signs, and new infections keep popping up on other branches. Mostly shoot blight this year, though plenty of blight starting with blossoms too. 2 sprays of copper, plus serenade weekly, have failed on this tree. Pink lady has been hit hard, too. Enterprise goes on with only two minor strikes, another local heirloom with minor strikes, and grimes golden with minor strikes. Nothing so far on goldrush after a terrible year last year, Spur Arkansas black and liberty have nothing so far, but no blooms on either as entry points.


My king david is getting shoot blight too. Probably a half dozen strikes cut off today. No major losses yet but I fear that is where this is heading. Goldrush still holding out. I noticed some sharpshooter insects today. I wonder if they suck on the FB infested pear tree across the street the come over and duck on my apple trees.


FB is hitting me hard on some trees. I’m nipping the strikes off asap to head it off. The neighbors apple is badly infected for years now but hasn’t died and it’s in bloom. The pollinators are bringing the disease to me. We will see what transpires but to make matters worse it warmed up and it’s raining.


I gave up growing Pink Lady after having 2 trees die from FB. My 2 Goldrush trees have had very few strikes over the last 5 years, just one more reason that Goldrush is my top overall apple.


I sprayed copper on pears and apples earlier at green tip, and I’m going to use streptomycin for the first time on the pears when they bloom. I’ve never seen FB signs on the apples.


Hi Chris,

If you don’t mind me asking, what is your FB regimen? (I’m in GA too, and just trying to work mine out.)


This might be a silly question, but if it’s all coming from your neighbor’s tree, maybe ask them if you can spray it?


Good idea but I think it’s beyond spraying


For FB, my schedule is to spray Kocide 3000 once at around the delayed dormant stage and once more at the half inch green stage then streptomycin (Agri Mycin 17) when trees start blooming and more strep sprays during bloom before or after a rain.

FB is quite random when it shows up, this year I missed my 1st copper spray and at least 2 strep sprays after rain. Due to my negligence, I expected to see a fair amount of FB showing up but so far I have yet to see any FB this year. I have also have had to deal with some FB shoot blight later season which I try to cut out asap.


I wish my pears would cooperate and bloom at the same time - for pollination and ease of spraying the strep


I was out for a couple of weeks and came home to discover multiple FB strikes on my 5 in 1 Asian Pear. Surprisingly, Korean Giant fared the worst. One strike on a spur spread to the main branch. I had to prune it back almost to the graft location. Only one fruit is left! :frowning: Weather has been unusually cool with clouds almost everyday. No rain for weeks though.


So much for the humidity theory!


I’ve been removing strikes daily now. One spur is on the lowest graft in my multi graft tree very close to the main trunk. And it got FB too. In hindsight I shouldn’t have let any spur grow near the main trunk. So, F word indeed. :frowning:


Almost all of my trees have now been hit. Pink Lady and Unknown heirloom 1, very bad. Unknown heirloom 2, bad. Enterprise, Goldrush, and Grimes Golden, moderate. Liberty, minor. Arkansas black, none. Today while pruning out strikes, I noticed a couple of small apples that appeared to be both infected and oozing. Never seen that before. I’m not going to have much of a crop this year because of this disease.

All of my trees are pruned very open, in full sun, with good air circulation. After the two sprays of copper and multiple sprays of serenade, I’ve broken down and ordered agri-myacin. It may be too hot to worry about it much until next year.


I got in 2 sprays of strep before the rains set in. One pear still has some blooms on - hope it was enough


Found two small strikes on leaf buds on my Moonglow and a limb on my Orient (Picture below). Nothing on the Unknown tree or the Kieffer. No more blooms here. Orient has fruit. This limb I took off the Orient was low on the trunk…like a fast growing sucker that needed to come off anyway. A good two feet of unblemished wood from end of blight down to trunk. Do I need to spray? With what? What about my young apples?



My only limb that looked that bad was on a Hood pear. I had other limbs of Hood on other trees so I mostly removed it. I check my trees daily and remove small shoots if they look infected but this one slipped by my observations. I don’t spray so I depend mostly on keeping an eye on things.