Fire Blight is a disease that affects many fruit trees including apples, cranberries, loquat and pears. Pear trees are the number one victim of this fungus and can be a serious problem for pear producers and can destroy an entire tree along with the fruits. The main bacterium that causes the infection is called Erwinia-amylovor from the family of Enteerobacteriaceae.
The Fire Blight affects several countries throughout the world while some regions haven’t yet discovered it. It may exist in Australia and Japan though nothing has been found. The fungus loves growing in warm and wet conditions in spring and summer and could be a trouble for you if any of these fruit trees exist in your lawn. The bacteria spreads down the steam which causes tissue damage and could kill the entire plant.
Identify Fire Blight!
Fire Blight is not a hard fungus to identify. In fact, the infection of the fungus will allow you to identify it easily when you see new shoots and flowers that appear wilted or shrivelled with a dark brown reddish colour. It will appear as if the plant has been burnt with fire which is how the fungus gets its name.
You can clearly see the affects of Fire Blight when large areas of a plant start blackening including the flowers. Twigs start wilting away and the fruits blacken and shrivel up.
Though other trees are severely affected, they can carry the diseases with them and pass it along other uninfected trees. You need to stay alert about protecting your trees before these signs occur or they will be infected. Below are a few ways you can control the presence of the deadly fungus and get rid of it before your fruits are poisoned.
1) Prune out diseased parts!
With pruning shears, cut out any parts of the tree that is infected. This will include branches and twigs. After each cutting, always cleanse the prune shears with isopropyl alcohol or bleach to prevent further spreading. After the twigs and branches have been removed, burn them immediately so that the fungus will die. Some gardeners use effective blowtorches to kill the canker infection instead of burning the wood. During winter, it isn’t necessary to cut far below the canker as the bacteria stays confined to the cankers edge. It’s only in summer when you have to cut off the blight as early as possible to reduce anymore damage to your tree. Delaying the cut will allow the fungus to spread and soon enough you will have too many twigs and branches to cut off and a tree without many branches will eventually die. Do not prune too many of the branches in spring when new shoots grow.
2) Spraying Antibiotics!
To protect Fire Blight from infecting your plants, use a teaspoon of antibiotic streptomycin mixed with a gallon of water. Start spraying when less than half of the blossoms have started to bloom but always take a 5 day intervals. If it begins to rain, re-apply the spray. You should remember that spraying when the plant is infected will not do any good at all. Though spraying before the plant gets infected helps prevent the Fire Blight from occurring.
3) Resistant cultivators!
This is one the best ways of controlling the Fire Blight. You should plant resistant cultivators that could significantly reduce the likelihood of the Fire Blight from developing. Some resistant cultivators of the Apple variety include, ‘Liberty’ and ‘Enterprise.’ Pear varieties are also available and these are, ‘Warren’ and ‘Moonglow.’ One fact you have to bear in mind with is that these resistant’s could also be affected with Fire Blight.
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