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Diseased pear trees

 
Tj Lees
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Location: Puglia, Italy (USDA zone 9)
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Hi guys could someone please advise me here.
I recently moved to this family property which previously was just being used as a holiday home. We have four old pear trees here, two at the back of the property and two near the house. The two that are far away are healthy and produce delicious fruit come autumn time. The two near the house however have been sick for years. Every year since we got the property (4 years ago) the trees grow leaves and bloom in Spring, but then the leaves start turning yellow and black. Come summertime the leaves and fruit start dropping off, and by autumn the tree is almost bear.
I've been asking around and reading up on it, but I can't seem to figure out whether this is pear blight or fabraea leaf spot and I'm unsure how best to treat it.
I would like to avoid any pesticides if at all possible. Most guides say that to treat a pear tree for either of those diseases organically I have to remove and burn all the infected leaves (those on the tree as well as those on the ground, as the bacteria can remain dormant). This is unrealistic for me because the infected leaves have been composting into the earth round the pear trees for years.

I'd be grateful for any ideas on how I might save these poor pear trees. Could grafting a more disease-resistant variety onto it help?
In the end maybe they'll serve best as firewood. Seems a pity for such old, well established trees however.
Thank you
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Leaves starting to die off
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One of the diseased pear trees
 
Henry Jabel
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If the disease overwinters it will probably be in the leaves so in winter get the leaves and compost/burn them away from the trees.

And/ or spraying some neem oil before it flowers ( don't do it if there are as bee and useful pollinators around as its not good for them).



 
Miles Flansburg
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I am wondering if you have thought about the difference in the locations of the trees? The ones far away are OK, the ones by the house are not... Observe what the differences might be. Different soils, moisture, sun etc. Is it possible that the close trees are sick from something that is in the area? Roof runoff, etc ? Are the trees far away getting something that the close ones are missing? What is making them healthier? Maybe if you can discover some of those things and add them to the close trees, the close trees would recover on their own?
 
John Elliott
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A little off topic, but are those trulli in the back in the second pic? If so, can you tell us more about them?
 
Tj Lees
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Location: Puglia, Italy (USDA zone 9)
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Thanks for the answers guys!
I've been thinking maybe the trees near the house don't get enough water over the dry summer because since the renovation they are surrounded by paving stones. I would have thought such old trees have very deep roots though...
I'll see how they're fairing by autumn, I might have to burn the leaves.

John, Yes indeed those are my neighbour's trulli. What exactly would like you like to know about them? Im sure could write a lot about trulli
 
John Elliott
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Tj Lees wrote:
John, Yes indeed those are my neighbour's trulli. What exactly would like you like to know about them? Im sure could write a lot about trulli


Are they connected? How much interior space does he have? I got the idea that a trullo was kind of cramped inside, not much more than 20 sq.m of floor space. It would be really cool if you could post a floor plan for how he has it set up.
 
Tj Lees
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Location: Puglia, Italy (USDA zone 9)
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John Elliott wrote:
Tj Lees wrote:
John, Yes indeed those are my neighbour's trulli. What exactly would like you like to know about them? Im sure could write a lot about trulli


Are they connected? How much interior space does he have? I got the idea that a trullo was kind of cramped inside, not much more than 20 sq.m of floor space. It would be really cool if you could post a floor plan for how he has it set up.

Ok this is gonna get off topic. I tried to draw a sketch to help explain, I hope it's understandable.
Trulli do indeed not have much space inside. Traditionally, each trullo would be one room and while there are single trulli, they were often build interconnecting for a whole family. Modern renovated trulli preserve the cone roofs but usually expand the interior walls by making it more square inside.
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Tj Lees
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Hopefully these pictures help explain what I mean.
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Old trulli
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Modern rebuilt trulli
 
John Elliott
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Mille grazie TJ!
 
John Saltveit
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There are many ways to approach this type of disease. It looks like pear scab to me, which I believe is a fungal disease. Pruning is very helpful so the tree dries out, gets sunlight into the inside of the tree and the tree is not a natural harbor for fungal spores. (Grow mushrooms? Do the opposite). You want to make sure that your soil is well draining. That could lead to disease too. Finally, I use compost tea a few times each year, which is completely organic, to outcompete the disease organisms.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Elliott
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Tj Lees wrote:Hopefully these pictures help explain what I mean.


I'll give this post an apple, and there is another one waiting if you start a whole thread on trulli. Much of modern permaculture is re-discovering the old, sustainable ways of living, and trulli are exactly that. We don't have a surplus of flat rocks in my area, or I might even try building one.
 
Mira Morse
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I am using Actinovate (beneficial Streptomyces Lydicus bacteria are in it) to help combat fireblight in my apple and pear trees, as well as peach leaf curl. There are a whole host of things that it helps combat. It is helpful even if there are no diseases on a plant. It has a symbiotic relationship with the plant roots and makes the plant stronger. It becomes active when the temperature is between 40F and 90F. I am going to drench my tree roots with it right before and after each heavy rain in the fall. That might help your pear trees too. It was isolated from the roots of flax seed. I am going to broadcast a bunch of flax seed wherever I put the Actinovate.
 
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