May 30, 2018
Slowing down fire blight by shutting down growth

It is important to monitor your orchard site for conditions. Photo: Kari Peter, Penn State

Fire blight symptoms are widespread throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. Growers are encouraged to use Apogee or Kudos to shut down tree growth to limit the spread of the disease in orchards.

Fire blight is creating a lot of headaches for folks as we close out the month of May. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising considering the conditions we have been experiencing since May 1. Rain continues to be in the forecast, and this will encourage trees to grow more. More growth means more chances for fire blight spread.

The only way to slow down fire blight is to shut down growth!

Here is the game plan for folks dealing with widespread fire blight in their orchards right now:

  • Apply Apogee or Kudos at 12 oz/A to trees and be sure to include appropriate conditioners to the tank mix (follow label instructions).
  • If growers have young, dwarf blocks and are reluctant to use the full rate of Apogee or Kudos, use at least 6 oz/A.
  • Apogee or Kudos will take at least 10-14 days post application to be effective. In the meantime, use Cueva at 2 qt/A to limit disease spread until shoots harden off. Be mindful of slow drying conditions when applying Cueva.

We are experiencing severe disease pressure for fire blight, and growers need to use caution when relying on alternative (bacterial-based, plant-based) products under our current conditions. Our research to date has shown these products do best during years where disease pressure is much less extreme.

For details about fire blight removal in the orchard, please refer to the Disease Update posted on May 25, 2018.

– Kari A. Peter, Penn State Assistant Professor of Tree Fruit Pathology





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