Fire blight: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Fire blight is a common disease in orchards that primarily attacks fruit trees. If not repelled in time, it can destroy the tree it has settled on. Here’s some information to learn how to spot and treat fire blight quickly.

Characteristics of fire blight

Fireworks are related to bacteria Erwinia amylovora which affects plants belonging to the Rosaceae family. This disease was first reported in France in the 1970s. Since then, it has been under constant surveillance because it is a disease that spreads very quickly.

Erwinia amylovora blight
Credit: Andrey Maximenko/iStock

Symptoms of fire blight

In order to get rid of it, you must be able to recognize fire blight in time. For this, here are the most common and well-known symptoms of this disease: During flowering, the flowers bloom wither then die. The bark begins to necrotize on the trunk and branches. We can also observe a slightly viscous white liquid that oozes when the weather is humid. Branches and leaves also take a reddish brown burnt appearanceit is furthermore this appearance that has contributed to the name of the disease.

You should know that fire blight is a lightning disease† Within a few days the branches die and after a few months it is the turn of the whole tree.

If it is rather warm and humid, the disease works even faster. The trees must be well protected after pruning, because the bacteria is introduced through the wounds in the bark.

Prevention and Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no really effective treatment for fire blight once it has established itself on the tree. Only a few prevention actions limit pollution.

First, once the disease has been identified, it is necessary to: cut off all diseased parts then burn them to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the garden. Remember to disinfect the tool after cutting.

Then remove the necrosis that multiplies on the bark. If a shrub is too badly infested, it will have to be removed by uprooting and then burning it to avoid re-infesting the other trees in the yard.

Finally, if you see secondary flowers, remove them before they develop.