Fire Blight

Fire Blight

Fire Blight. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Well it’s that time again. Fire Blight season will be upon us and it’s time to start your planning according to WSU Extension Professor Emeritus, Tim Smith.

SMITH: It’s particularly important to make decisions about fire blight in the second, third, fourth and fifth leaf on young trees. The older trees can take fire blight and survive but the young ones, it’s pretty much a tree killer if you get an infection. Every one of those thousand, five-hundred trees you have out there is worth about $50 in income over the time that it takes to replace it and grow it back to where it’s growing again.

Fire blight can take out entire orchards and Smith says it has happened more times than people want to admit. A model of fire blight called the Cougarblight model seems to be very effective at predicting the disease.

SMITH: Every time the fire blight model said fire blight had occurred it occurs somewhere. It never misses. Because there are plenty of different circumstances and when it says yes, it is yes and we know that somebody is getting hit. But that doesn’t mean it is going to be your orchard .

Smith says when they look for the fire blight bacteria in various tree fruits they often don’t find it.

SMITH: And if you don’t have any bacteria you don’t have anything to go through the evolution and create the disease and we’re blessed compared to other parts of the world and back east because we have a low background level of bacteria, naturally. It’s our weather.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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