Hey folks, my wife and I had planned for a few Bartletts in the fruit guild groupings we are working on but hadn't planned on incorporating them until next season. I happened to notice 2 #5 Bartlett semi-dwarfs at Tractor Supply yesterday on sale for $10 each. I noticed what I initially thought may be cold or wind damage and figured it was worth attempting to see how they'd do once in the ground but now I'm hesitant after learning about fire blight.
The last thing we want to do is jeopardize any other trees. Both are still in pots, I've trimmed all twigs and what I'd consider a few branches that were either entirely black and shriveled or well on their way. Currently the trees have just started to push out leaves. It has been a particularly wet and cold spring here in KY (which is another reason I thought it was just weather related).
Here are a few pics of what I think (total newbie and purely based on comparing photos online) may be fire blight cankers setting into the main stalks. Am I just being paranoid and if not, what would be the best way to help these two recover?
Mike, fellow kentuckian here! It's possible that could be blight but I read a while back that fire blight needs high humidity and Temps between 65 and 75 to develop.
Here in Eastern KY we had some Temps like that earlier in the year so I'd probably isolate them if possible and watch to see if your pruning revitalizes it. If the dark parts turn darker and start to show pitting like a canker that saddles the full girth of the branch then I would get a treatment or keep the trees away from other pears apples and crab apples.
Thanks for the guidance! Some of the darker areas have spread along the main trunk and we've seen no additional growth on any of the buds. The bark seems to want to tear open, almost like its being stretched and then it seems to split, revealing near charcoal black underneath. I haven't fiddled with them since the pruning beyond physically isolating them but they seem to be going downhill pretty fast. I think I'm going to chop and burn them next weekend if this black core & peeling bark seems to spread. As unhealthy as it must be for the poor trees, it's quite fascinating & shocking to see how quickly whatever this is moves once it takes hold.
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