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Need a list of Fire Blight resistant varieties of Apples and Pears

 
pollinator
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My area (Coastal SE Virginia) is extremely prone to this disease. I have only found a few varieties so far but want more for planting.

Label them as "Resistant" or "Extremely Resistant"

Here are the ones I have found so far... and how resistant they are allegedly. Just planted them so it will be a while before I find out if it is true.

Enterprise apple - Extremely Resistant
Liberty apple - Resistant

Starking Delicious pear - Resistant


Thanks,

Marty
 
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As far as I know the key is in the root stock used. We have fire blight in my area. I always order trees grafted on fireblight resistant rootstock.
So you may wish to get good root stock and just graft what you want onto it. grafting is not hard and you can find people who sell grafting woodstock. Check with north american fruit explorers.
 
Marty Mitchell
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alex Keenan wrote:As far as I know the key is in the root stock used. We have fire blight in my area. I always order trees grafted on fireblight resistant rootstock.
So you may wish to get good root stock and just graft what you want onto it. grafting is not hard and you can find people who sell grafting woodstock. Check with north american fruit explorers.



Roger that. I will check them out. Thanks!


Marty
 
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http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com/niche/wildlife.html

Check them out, they specialize in southern varieties.
 
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In Oklahoma the Kieffer pear (actually a hybrid between Bartlet and an Asian pear) is said to be resistant to fire blight, which is common. Around here the Kieffer is actually sometimes called the "homestead" pear because it's the most likely fruit tree to find still alive and producing on old home sites that have been vacant for decades.

In my own actual experience, the Kieffer pear that was abandoned/neglected on this property for decades is still healthy on secondary spires (central spire is long since gone dead and been turned into woodpecker condominiums) and produced abundant fruit three years ago, which was the year that I found it. Two years ago it got a case of fire blight that blackened half the tree. (I saw other random pear-family trees in the neighborhood that turned totally black that year, and now appear to have died.) Last year the fire blight was minor and much fruit was set, but it all dropped very early in the year for reasons unknown. This year it's looking perfect so far, with heavy fruit set. I estimate this tree dates to the late 1940s, but that's just a guess based on the construction date of the house I think it was originally associated with.
 
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This was how the Bradford pear was born
 
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...the key is in the root stock used.


I tend to agree with this.

The first choice in root stocks is generally size (dwarf, semi-dwarf, etc.), and then cold hardiness.
Also important in selection are disease resistance, soil type, water requirements, anchoring, etc.

There are dozens and dozens of available root stocks. Picking the best choice for your circumstances can be a daunting task. Some nurseries only use one type, while others will offer a wide selection.

Without knowing all of your requirements, I couldn't even begin to offer suggestions. What I do recommend is talking to a local orchard, or better yet, ask your County Extension Agent. He/she should know what works best in your region - minimum winter temps, soil types, rainfall/irrigation, diseases, etc. He has had years of listening to commercial orchardists complaining and/or praising different root stocks. He should know best what works well under your set of circumstances. Better to find out NOW than to wait several years to know if you made a good choice.

 
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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.
 
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I had purchased several bare root trees and planted them in our property in Great Bridge area of Chesapeake. Heavy clay soil and swampy conditions were my enemies. All was good the first two years when we had unusually dry conditions, then came a very wet spring. My next door neighbors were synthetic fertilizer lawn enthusiasts, I preferred sheet mulching and horse manure. Flooding and run-off from their property were my heartbreak. My hardy oriental pear had an explosion of growth and a major outbreak of fire blight. I ended up pruning over a third of the poor tree that summer, an additional third of the tree the following summer, and was ready to throw in the towel. Once the tree hit 12 feet in height something must have changed, three straight years with no signs of fire blight. I want to say the massive amounts of sheet mulching I had applied helped change the soil structure somehow as I had started noticing really nice, dark, crumbly soil instead of that terribly sticky clay. I took several air layers from the original tree, kept one and gave away the rest. Now I reside on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, but the original hardy oriental pear tree, now 16 years old, is close to 24 foot tall, but only bears on alternate years. I have a 6 foot tall cutting here on the shore that I am anxiously waiting to see if it will bear fruit. I have some reservations on this cutting as it is not as healthy as I would wish, but the soil I have it planted in is still being mulched heavily due to lack of organic matter. Healthy soil in my experience goes a long way in preventing disease, as well as a good plant guild setting. Polyculture planting seems to create additional protection as "plant buddies" tend to protect each other. Comfrey is one of those really good buddies. In ending, I do believe that disease resistant varieties (especially if also heirlooms) go a long way in keeping our sanity in check. Gardening and Permaculture should be enjoyable and stress-relieving, not stress-adding. My growing experience in Chesapeake was a real learning curve for me - good luck!
 
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First, I want to recommend Cummins Nursery in the Ithaca region. It was started by Jim Cummins after he retired from the Extension there, having developed many rootstocks with crown rot and blight resistance as key goals. He also gave me much advice when I started my orchard ten years ago--now his son runs it. I chose Enterprise, Priscilla and Goldrush apples, Potomac and Blake's Pride pears and a Surefire cherry. The cherry was supposed to bloom late and thus avoid frosts--in fact it's the last of my fruit trees to bloom and thus does set at least a few fruit every year.  Unfortunately my notes seem to have mixed up the two pears so I'm not sure which is which; the one I thought was Blake's Pride never grew much and has bloomed a few times but only last year finally made a few fruits. The other one is at least 15 feet tall and made 72 nice pears a few years ago. The bigger one has never shown any signs of blight, the smaller one usually gets a couple of blighted twigs, nothing serious--this includes a year when the apples got hit fairly hard and everywhere around there was fire blight. Oh, I also had a Moonglow, but that was on Bartlett rootstock; it wasn't touched that bad year but another year it got blighted at the top and the blight worked down--i was too slow and stingy with the pruning and eventually removed the tree as it was so badly blighted (It was also in a location where I could expand my vegetable garden by removing it). Goldrush was hit by the blight but not seriously harmed; same with Priscilla; Enterprise seemed immune. But Goldrush started fruiting early and set heavy crops of delicious apples most years; I have to thin them twice to remove enough. Enterprise makes good apples too but never seems to set a really heavy crop. The Priscilla is on a smaller rootstock so it's a smaller tree which cant make too many fruits. It's a summer apple, pretty decent for an early one.
 
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When I moved onto my farm in '96, there was an overgrown pear tree on the property. It was at least 20 years old. I knew little about fruit trees but knew it needed to be pruned. The water sprouts had turned into large upright trunks. I removed 1/3 of the tree for several years in a row. The tree is called a WINTER PEAR. It sets fruit later in the spring and isn't ready to pick until late fall...October at the earliest. On a good year, I have harvested 15 bushels of pears from this tree. This fruit is hard when picked but will winter over in a root cellar or cool basement very well. After the fruit is picked, it needs to ripen on the table in the house for ten - 14 days before it's ready to eat. I call this a TWO NAPKIN pear. I don't like the skin, so I peel it before eating. Delicious with cheese...and can be canned for later use. I haven't tried to freeze it (as I have done with peaches in apple juice...that works well), but I think it would freeze OK. I'm not sure where you can find a WINTER PEAR tree, but they are the best!
 
Marty Mitchell
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Awesome information there!!! Thank you for resurrecting this thread. I am at a new home again now and shall be on the hunt for them Fire Blight resistant strains again at some point.

I am putting in all the garden beds, flower beds, and already planted a bunch of figs, mulberries, plums, and peaches so far. About time for those apples and pears.
 
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Guy Ames has a lot of info on what you can actually grow....   his pear section starts with "fireblight", in his apple, he talks about promoting what did well with 10 years of neglect....
https://amesorchardandnursery.com/

Robert
 
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If you haven't yet, look into planting Hazelnuts. A good companion for the under story of these 15-20 foot tall "trees" are morels. Planting jonquil bulbs under apple & other fruit trees may deter moles. Jonquils, not daffodils. Fedcoseeds.com in Maine has been doing some research on this. You might want to look into it. Good luck with your orchards!
 
Mary Cook
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For what it's worth--about five years ago a neighbor ordered 40 of those new hazelnut-filbert crosses the Arbor Day people were putting out, spreading them among several households. They were supposed to get the plant and nut size of the European filberts and the blight resistance of the native American hazelnuts. Result--looks like it was the other way around. Most of them didn't even live--I have one of the exceptions, a Jefferson which is about 8 feet high now and has put out a few blossoms. No nuts so far. This may be because there are wild hazelnuts around--maybe they can only resist the blight if there is low disease pressure. We have also tried grafting northern pecans, pecan-hickory hybrids, and improved hickories to our wild hickory seedlings, in hopes of getting nuts that drop out of the shells--the local wild hickories must be scraped out at an absurdly slow rate--I think it was four hours of work getting a cup of nuts. The grafts mostly took but the trees are V E R Y slow growing.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Robert Marsh wrote:Guy Ames has a lot of info on what you can actually grow....   his pear section starts with "fireblight", in his apple, he talks about promoting what did well with 10 years of neglect....
https://amesorchardandnursery.com/

Robert



Saved! Thank you
 
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There's a new Pear called Shenandoah. It's parents are Max Red Bartlett and also has Seckel in its linage. Which is the source of fire blight resistance. The original seedling tree was selected in 1985 at the USDA, Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia. Harvest maturity occurs about four weeks after 'Bartlett', and the fruit will store in refrigerated (-1 C) air storage for at least 4 months. The flavor is aromatic, similar to 'Bartlett', and is moderately acidic during the first 2 months after harvest. Yield has been moderate to moderately high, and precocious, with first fruit setting 1 to 2 years after planting.. Production has been regular with no pronounced biennial pattern. The descriptions are those of the USDA. under the number PI665743. I have a tree on order for delivery later this year. I'm interested more in its precociousness and the flavor.

I'd also like to point out that sometimes there are multiple sports of the same fruit. An example is the McIntosh apple. If you search at the link above for "malus McIntosh" there are 94 search results. Some are apples where McIntosh is mentioned in its lineage. But many are sports of McIntosh. The Wijcik McIntosh has a fireblight resistance of 1 or very resistant. The Marshall McIntosh has a rating of 3, much higher.
 
Marty Mitchell
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John Indaburgh wrote:
There's a new Pear called Shenandoah. It's parents are Max Red Bartlett and also has Seckel in its linage. Which is the source of fire blight resistance. The original seedling tree was selected in 1985 at the USDA, Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia. Harvest maturity occurs about four weeks after 'Bartlett', and the fruit will store in refrigerated (-1 C) air storage for at least 4 months. The flavor is aromatic, similar to 'Bartlett', and is moderately acidic during the first 2 months after harvest. Yield has been moderate to moderately high, and precocious, with first fruit setting 1 to 2 years after planting.. Production has been regular with no pronounced biennial pattern. The descriptions are those of the USDA. under the number PI665743. I have a tree on order for delivery later this year. I'm interested more in its precociousness and the flavor.

I'd also like to point out that sometimes there are multiple sports of the same fruit. An example is the McIntosh apple. If you search at the link above for "malus McIntosh" there are 94 search results. Some are apples where McIntosh is mentioned in its lineage. But many are sports of McIntosh. The Wijcik McIntosh has a fireblight resistance of 1 or very resistant. The Marshall McIntosh has a rating of 3, much higher.



Thank you. I will look it up and do the research on them. They sound amazing!
 
Mary Cook
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I think Shenandoah comes from the same line as my Potomac (similar name and Potomac comes from the same place; I am in western WV so this is another plus. If I were going to plant a new pear I'd pick that one; but I'm not going to plant any more fruit trees till I solve my squirrel problem.
 
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Mary Cook wrote:but I'm not going to plant any more fruit trees till I solve my squirrel problem.



Maybe more fruit trees could be the solution, too much for them to eat it all!
 
Mary Cook
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I wonder if that's possible. We call this place Hickory Ridge...there are also oaks, and persimmons. But we are about five days into an ice storm, with about five more days probably before it melts...squirrels might be starving in their nests, unable to traverse ice covered trees. The wind blows, and there's a lot of rattling, and falling limbs. Also most of the ground is heavy clay--nutritious enough but poor drainage and aeration. My orchard is at the upper end where there is more sand in the soil. There are a couple of wild persimmons in the poor ground--but I think planting more of those wouldn't help, as the damn squirrels raid my trees months before they're ripe, like in July. I don't see them in persimmons much anyway, I guess they don't like them unripe and in the the period when they're ripe, August for some down to November, they have all those nuts.
 
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Check the just fruits and exotics pear list.  Most of their pears are fireblight resistant.  

There joy apple is very tough, but very low chill.  Anna is another resistant pear.  In my area Cedar apple rust is more common on apples than is fire blight.

My region is 8b NW FL.  Pace. FL
 
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Hi Marty, My twin brother lives just north of EC and I am from Chesapeake (IR and Grassfield).  I couldn't wait to get out of the sticky humid SE VA/NE NC summers.  25 years after moving from 8a to 6b (Christiansburg, VA) and now 7a (Maryland Blue Ridge) I do find myself envying the longer growing season you have and your ability to start tomatoes outside.  

Anyways, my recommendation is to try and find a variety that is uniquely adapted for your local environs - like in my case the Shenandoah Pear (originated 20  miles south and west - Kearneysville WV) and the Antietam apple (originated 6 miles west - Keedysville, MD) http://hagerstownmagazine.com/news/how-do-you-them-apples .  For NE NC, you might find some great graft stock from the big nurseries on the Northern Neck of Virginia that is similar in climate to where you are.  

We are crazy susceptible to fire blight - I too am starting a brand new fire blight resistant orchard this year with about 20 trees.

Good luck to you!
 
Carl Mohr
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Marty Mitchell wrote:Awesome information there!!! Thank you for resurrecting this thread. I am at a new home again now and shall be on the hunt for them Fire Blight resistant strains again at some point.

I am putting in all the garden beds, flower beds, and already planted a bunch of figs, mulberries, plums, and peaches so far. About time for those apples and pears.


There at several winter pears.  Usually they are planted for deer.  I last year purchased a thanks giving pear.  Any there are others.  I got that one IIRC from chestnut hill nursery.  

https://chestnuthilltreefarm.com/shop/thanksgiving-pear/

Thanksgiving pears are a hardy pear with a sweet, crisp flavor found at an old homestead along the Alapaha River in Georgia. They ripen in late fall and hold on the tree until Thanksgiving! Disease resistant. Traditional pear shape fruit is excellent for deer and wildlife, and will bring them in throughout the hunting season. Bears fruit in 3-5 years.

 

From bass pecan nursery.  There shipping needs needs to be discussed with them.  

Gilmer Christmas Pear

Zone 5-9

Gilmer Christmas Pear is a heavy bearer of golden colored fruit. It is a thornless tree.  The fruit drop is very late sometimes holding fruit until January.

Fruit Drop: November-January
$25.00
Size

Here is another one

Hawkins Pear

Zone 6-9

Hawkins originated on an old homesite in Fulton, Georgia. Fruit begins to ripen in November and hangs on the tree into December. Fruits are large weighing up to one pound. While it can be eaten fresh, it is better as a canning pear. Very disease resistant.

Fruit drop: November-December
$25.00
 
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