Humans get infections and diseases. We need to keep our hands clean, cover our mouths when we cough, sneeze into tissues, or take medicine to prevent getting sick. We are told to stay home if we are sick and we are told to keep a little distance from people who are sick with something is contagious.
Trees work the same way. Of course, they don’t have to wash their hands or wear coats when it’s cold, but they do get diseases and require treatment. It’s similar because if they are infected, they need to be watched closely or removed from their current spot to prevent other trees from getting infected.
They also must stay away from sick trees if they are healthy. There are many different types of tree infections, but there are some that stand out. One of which is fire blight.
What is Fire Blight?
Before we can treat fire blight, we must know what it is and how to spot it. Fire blight can best be defined from the Pest Problem section ‘Fire Blight’ by Planet Natural. Fire blight is a destructive bacterial disease named for its scorched appearance of infected leaves.
Fire Blight can’t necessarily be contained to one type of plant or region. However, it typically affects apples, pears, and other members of the rose family. It is located in hotter areas since it can thrive in hotter temperatures. The disease enters at the tips of the tree branches and then travels down stems causing die back.
The disease is more noticeable at the top of the tree and attacks soft new growth first. Most of the infected leaves or branch tips wilt rapidly and turn brown or even black! The leaves will begin to die but they don’t always fall off, leaving you with a scorched looking tree.
What Causes Fire Blight?
So, now that you know what fire blight is and how to spot it, you might find yourself asking what it is caused by. As with most tree infections it can be caused by the lack of or improper tree care. However, Tianna DuPont and Tim Smith from Washington State University give us a more exact answer from the 2019 ‘Disease Management: Fire Blight’ article.
They state that fire blight is cause by Erwinia amylovora which is a rod-shaped bacterium. The infections usually occur during bloom or late blooms during the three weeks after petal fall. Bloom occurs when hotter seasons are arriving which means the bacteria will split and the infection will spread much more rapidly, being even more destructive.
How Do We Treat Fire Blight?
It seems unavoidable and destructive! However, there is a way to treat it. According to UGA Extension, 2017, ”Fire Blight: Symptoms and Treatment’ you can treat it with proper tree care such as pruning out infected branches around 8 inches below the damage when the branches are dry. Make sure the branches are dry to prevent doing more harm.
To Help Prevent the Spread of Infection
Disinfect your tool before and after pruning. This helps prevent the spread of infections. It’s important to disinfect all gardening tools in general, it will help keep your trees healthy. While you are pruning out trees, dips tools in 70 percent rubbing alcohol or 10 percent bleach solution with water in between each cut.
Make sure to avoid splashing water or heavy nitrogen on trees especially during the summer. If you want more treatment, apply a fungicide called Kocide to your tree every day. If there are heavy rains, a re-application might be needed.
With the proper tree care and attitude, you can get the best out of these methods! It’s fun to plant trees to make your yard look more beautiful, however, you must keep up with tree care to keep it that way. Tree care makes your trees and house look nice. You’ll have the best house on the block, guaranteed!