Fire Blight: Know What’s Causing It and How to Stop It

Posted by kelis myzer on September 19th, 2022

Here is something you might not know: your favorite seasonal fruits are might go out of stock, and fire blight treatment is the only way to stop it. If you’re worried, read on to know more about fire blight, its effects, and what you can do to save your precious orchards from it.


As winter approaches, people across the world have taken to their helping of pears, generally grown in wet climates, particularly mature in August and September. While pears are usually available all year round, they are particularly sought after during this period, believed to be the best time for pears to mature due to favorable weather conditions. But there are some who might not be able to enjoy it to the fullest, all due to one common illness: fire blight. Fire blight treatment is essential to put a stop to it.


Fire blight is a plant disease that particularly affects apples, pears and some members of the family Rosaceae. The bacteria that causes it is called Erwinia amylovora. The disease is highly infectious and is responsible for destroying orchards across North America, New Zealand, Japan, and parts of Europe. It also affects other economically important plants, like almonds, some varieties of cherries and berries, apricots, and more.


The reason why they affect peaches a lot is because peaches mature in moist conditions, and fire blight is the most active in this weather as well. It actively spreads during the exact time when peaches are maturing, destroying them in the process.


How does it spread?

During winter, the causal pathogen Erwinia amylovora starts residing in tree cankers. As spring arrives, a bacteria-filled ooze is discharged from the canker slowly, attracting honeybees and other insects. These insects spread the ooze to susceptible plant tissues like stigmata of flowers. With the right temperature and moisture, the bacteria start colonizing the plant.


The bacteria is particularly active in wet conditions, and dormant during winter. This is why peaches, which also favor moisture, become susceptible to the disease quickly. The disease is so strong that it can destroy an entire orchard is not taken care of quickly.


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of fire blight are varied, but they all make the plant look sick and are easy to detect due to their distinct coloration, generally a black or brown withering of flower buds and blossoms. It almost makes them seem like they have been burnt in a fire and are on the verge of death. Cankers are another obvious sign as that is where the bacteria responsible resides. These cankers can look like purplish black lesions, sunken into the plant and often oozing with a slimy gel.  The fruits look like they are covered in moisture, and then they soon turn brown and black, then eventually shrivel.


What can you do?

There are some small steps you can take to avoid such serious diseases. The first step is to detect any infected wood. You can identify them by their oozing cankers and unsightly appearances. These infected parts are generally supposed to be removed during the seasons when the disease lays dormant, like during late summer, fall or winter. However, be aware of your own climate and weather conditions: if you live in a moist environment, the disease can be hyperactive and destroy all plants in its vicinity.


You can also make the choice to grow plants that are resistant to fire blight. Careful and regular checkups and assessments from professionals can help you detect the disease early and nip it in the bud. Excess pruning encourages new growth, so you can avoid that as well if you suspect a case of fire blight.


In case you detect obviously infected plants, take your shears and prune off all infected parts of the plant. Then burn them to prevent any further spread. Also, clean your shears with 10% alcohol to remove any residue of the bacteria.


Call for Professional Help

In this day and age, there are always professionals available to help you with fire blight treatment. Not only can they assess problems easily, but they can also apply remedies to complementary eliminate any risks. Generally, early applications of liquid copper can keep the disease at bay, and products that contain Streptomyces lydicus can be excellent for disease control. Such fire blight treatment methods are available at every tree healthcare service provider, so calling professionals is best when you know it's too late to control the disease by yourself.

Like it? Share it!

kelis myzer

About the Author

kelis myzer
Joined: September 19th, 2022
Articles Posted: 2

More by this author