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Pear fire blight  RSS feed

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Hey guys. All of my trees I just planted have been doing well. I bought most of them from Stark Bros. I starting noticing that my hardy asian pear was not leafing out as well as the rest and it started to get blackened leaves. I suspected fire blight so I took a picture and sent to Stark. They agreed and will replace the tree which is the good news. I have a couple of questions though.

1. Has anyone else ever had problems with fireblight? I know how to get rid of it, but I haven’t been able to talk to anyone with solid info on prevention relevant to zone 6.

2. I bought all kinds of trees this year including apples and pears, and only this one pear tree had it. The tree was bare root and was a young whip, which leads me to believe it already had the disease since all the others were fine. Is it possible that only this tree got the infection from my property?

3. Has anyone used any Permaculture approved methods for keeping this in check? Stark has a fungicide called Serenade. Here is the info on it http://www.serenadegarden.com/labels-msds/con-label.pdf. The EPA isnt sure how it will affect honey bees just yet.

Thanks guys.

PS. I feel like im always asking for help and not providing enough help. That is mostly due to my inexperience with Permaculture, I hope everyone understands and I am looking for ways to interact more by offering help.

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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bump bump
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Cut and burn and clean your tools, that is the only method to get it under control. Goodluck!
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks Emerson. I do know that part of it. I was kinding hoping for more information from others who have experienced fire blight. Here are the questions:

1. Has anyone else ever had problems with fireblight? I know how to get rid of it, but I haven’t been able to talk to anyone with solid info on prevention relevant to zone 6.

2. I bought all kinds of trees this year including apples and pears, and only this one pear tree had it. The tree was bare root and was a young whip, which leads me to believe it already had the disease since all the others were fine. Is it possible that only this tree got the infection from my property?

3. Has anyone used any Permaculture approved methods for keeping this in check? Stark has a fungicide called Serenade. Here is the info on it http://www.serenadegarden.com/labels-msds/con-label.pdf. The EPA isnt sure how it will affect honey bees just yet.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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That is B. subtilis according to the label, I'd be really surprised if that hurt honeybees, you can already find it everywhere in the world where it gets up to 50 f. I would be a little surprised if it worked too. Typically fireblight prevention is done by soaking trees in streptomycin. A more permie method would be to avoid winter pruning, so as to avoid watersprouts which stay green and susceptible for a long time.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Now we are talking! Its funny you mention the winter pruning because that is what everyone recommends to prevent it, you are saying the opposite! Not pruning makes sense because of the water sprouts and I imagine open wounds...
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Editing error, that should have been don't prune in late winter (early spring as well). After the sap starts to flow pruning in late winter is a recipe for huge watersprouts that will stay soft and vulnerable for a long time.

I never got the hang of the whole four seasons thing, here we have 5-6 months with at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.
 
John Alabarr
Posts: 80
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I posted this in another fire blight thread:

"I talked to a Horticulturist one time and he recommenced pouring milk on the infected tree. I did it and it helped. Something to do with the lactobacteria."
 
Chris Floyd
Posts: 18
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
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forest garden hugelkultur trees
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I know your original post was a while back, but I too had ordered some trees from Stark 8-10 years ago. One of which was a hardy oriental pear. I was living in Chesapeake, Virginia, zone 7b, heavy clay soil, prone to very humid and damp springs. When first planted, we had drought conditions 2 years in a row, then 3 consecutive years of very wet springtimes. The pear tree initially did good during the dry spell, then the wet springs caused severe fire blight infections causing me to prune over a third of the poor tree back 3 consecutive years in a row. I was heavily sheet-mulching the soil at this time every week with whatever I could get my hands on. Once the soil improved and the tree grew past 10 feet tall, the fire blight issues ceased. I would like to say it was changing the soil structure and making the soil healthy again that provided the solution to the problem. I realize this was not a very scientific study on my part, but I now have a cutting of the original plant over here in my present location on Virginia's Eastern Shore that is about 6 foot tall and growing strong with no issues from fire blight so far. The only basis I can give is the fact that I heavily mulch my soil and the pear cutting is surrounded with a thick layer of decomposed wood chips - lots of microbial and fungal life in there. While I highly recommend planting fire blight resistant varieties whenever possible, healthy living soil rich in organic matter seems to protect plants the best in my opinion. Artificial fertilizers, excessive watering in springtime, water sprouts, all seem to result in outbreaks of the dreaded fire blight. Cutting back 6-10 inches below the damaged portions and sterilizing of all pruning tools, plus burning of the infected plant portions was my general practice. I will have to give John Alabarr's milk suggestion a try - had a beurre bosc pear that did not survive the fire blight, but I made the mistake of not planting in decent soil and paid the price for my poor decision. I always thought that fire blight was endemic in the environment and outbreaks occurred when conditions favored it. When we were having problems with the excessively wet springs, we also had to hire a tree removal company to remove a 130 year old white oak that caught some kind of fatal fungus and was threatening to fall onto my neighbors property. Cannot remember for sure but I believe they said it was botrytis? I know I was heartbroken as it was perfectly fine the year before. I spent 6 straight years of sheet-mulching to change that nasty clay soil to decent rich loam, property looked like a jungle before I moved away. You will never go wrong feeding your soil. Good luck!
 
J. Adams
Posts: 39
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Michael Phillips is a well-known organic orchardist, and he lists how he prevents various orchard diseases (possibly even fireblight) at this link. The methods are along the lines of introducing competing beneficial microorganisms to the orchard blossoms, increasing the orchard leaves' natural resistance, and other wholistic mechanisms https://www.groworganicapples.com/organic-orcharding-articles/holistic-spray-ingredients.php ;
 
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