Upper Southeast - KY, TN, WV, OH Valley etc

I had 6 apple trees blooming this year… one a crab apple.

5 trees got several hits of fire blght… only the crab did not.

My gold rush had 5 or 6 hits early… i removed… then a week or so later it had a dozen more.
Its a goner. I actually ended up removing 3 trees… so many FB hits… nothing left … looked awefull.

My Novamac espellar had multiple hits on each of 4 scaffolds… i just removed the fruit spurs affected… it will probaby die.

Nasty year for FB here. I may give up on apples.


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I’m wondering which crab didn’t get hit?

Fireblight was pretty bad here in WNC also. There was a 2 day window where the blooms didnt get froze or blighted. My Bartlett seems to have hit this window the best. Moonglow got mostly frosted out, but has zero blight hits, even on the rattail bloom. Keiffer was 100% froze out. All apples got strikes, but pristine and williams pride has decent fruit set. I don’t cut out any strikes until late summer. If the tree can halt the progression, then it builds immunity. If not, then the variety doesnt have long term resilience and needs to go anyways.

@Jobe … it was a pink flowering crab that I planted over 20 years ago… it has beautiful blossoms and pollinates with my Early Mcintosh (FG2).

It produces tiny inedible apples.

I have 4 grafts added to it… black limbertwig, red royal limbertwig, myers royal limbertwig and chestnut crab. Might get some apples off those grafts in a year or two.

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Fourth time I’ve grafted & grown Korean Giant Asian pear, only to have it die, almost overnight, from fire blight, once it got old enough to bloom.
I’m done with that one.

@Lucky_P … that has happened to me several times in the past and just recenly with apples and pears.

No problems until they start blooming in year 2 3 4… then FB wipes them out.

I took out 3 trees this year… they had so many FB strikes (multiple strikes on every scaffold branch)… there would be nothing left if you tried to prune that out.

My Gold Rush was covered… so many FB strikes it was ridiculous.

In 2020 I decided to try adding 3 more apples… and went with later bloomers (Fg3 and Fg4) trees to help with my late frost issue.

This spring all 3 of those were blooming for the first time… and blooming after our last late frost. Happy I was…

Until… FB showed up. Now I realize that later blooming apples… will be blooming when it is warmer… and the mix of warm wet weather with apple blossoms… is perfect storm for FB.
Those trees all got covered in FB.

My Early Mcintosh apple is FG2… it blooms early and often loose fruit to a late frost… it is the only fruiting tree here to survive 20+ years. Perhaps it made it because it blooms early and finishes before it warms up ?

Seems near impossible to find apples that work well for my location.

It looks like my Harrow Sweet, Ginger Gold, and Clark’s Crab were also hit albeit very small strikes.

Next year I will plan to spray the biofungicide much earlier. Ultimately if certain varieties can’t make it with only a low organic/pollinator safe spray regimen then I’ll just remove them, I’ve made peace with that as my long term plan.

Wondering how bad Japanese beetles will be this year; last year was pretty ugly. Stink bugs have been sparse so far but there’s still plenty of time.

@SoMtHomestead … what you said about fire blight above… how you deal with it.

My Novamac on b9 espellar… Novamac is supposed to be very resistent to FB CAR Scab and Rots…

It is a FG4 my latest bloomer… and its 4 little espellar branches was covered in fruit spurs. I pruned several out to get them spaced out to about 2 to 3 inches apart.

It was still blooming a little but some fruit spurs had fruit set on them already… when I noticed it had several FB strikes on all 4 scaffold branches.

All strikes were on individual fruit spurs. None were on limb tips.

I removed like 4 or 5 fruit spurs that were black/brown from each scaffold branch.

I did not remove any wood past that. The rest of the wood had fruit spurs with nice fruit set.

I did thin the remaining apples.

If it is truly FB resistent… perhaps that will work… if not… it may die. Sounds like you do something similar.

Even my 20+ year old Early Mcintosh got lots of FB hits this year. It has to have resistance to have survibved here that long. Hopefully it makes it.


I think some of my apple trees have some FB this year as well. It is very odd, I have not had FB since my one Bartlet pear got it. Really odd. I have no idea why I have it now???

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@MikeC … i could be wrong… but it seems to me that FB has the best chance of happening… when you have these 3 things happening.

Warmer weather
Active apple blossoms

It could have been just a little warmer this year with rain… while you had blossoms happening.

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@MikeC Do you do any preventative spraying?

Yes. I spray about every 10-15 days.

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We had all three- bingo!

Perhaps it’s just one of those years. We did have pretty warm rainy weather early.

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The local HD has all trees 1/2 off. It’s tempting to grab a plum and a cherry for $20. Do any of you have any success with either without spraying, especially for brown rot.

True, this years weather has been odd.

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Just say no!

I was able to grab a couple of bags of mulch and not a couple of trees. Had to remind myself about the additional costs of planting, fending off critters and disease, and if they made it they would ripen at the time of year that I am not at my backwoods orchard. Tough but I did it this time, but I really love plums and cherries.

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