Q: What is Fireblight?

 

ANSWER:

Fireblight is a disease that attacks more than 75 different species all within the Rosaceae family. Because this is a very infectious disease it is important that control measures be taken as soon as possible. Fireblight usually appears in the spring when the tree is in bloom. Infected blossoms wilt suddenly and turn to dark brown. Leaves on infected branches become brown and shrivelled. New growth becomes blackened and is often curled at the tip, like a shepherd’s crook. Smooth bark blacken and usually cracks. Infection can spread to older branches and truck where cankers can develop. Young infected fruit may look oily and exude a clear, milky or amber-coloured ooze. The fruit shrivel, turn dark brown and remain attached to the tree.

 

Chemical control will not work for fireblight. As soon as the infection appears diseased limbs should be pruned 10-18in below any sign of infection. Trees that are severely infected should be removed. Disinfect tools between each cut or the disease may spread by pruning.

 


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