The best approach to controlling fireblight is to spray the appropriate fungicides starting at the “silver tip” stage (when the buds first begin to show silver color) through the “bloom” period. This late-winter/early spring time period is when the trees are most susceptible to contracting the disease. Although these timely sprays are not 100 percent effective, they will normally prevent or at least help reduce the severity of the disease.
If you have apple and pear trees, you may have seen this disease in the past and not realized what it was. Fireblight normally causes the leaves on young twigs to wilt, blacken, and stay attached to the branch. These blackened leaves scattered across the tree can give it a fire-scorched appearance.
For more information about this fruit tree disease or to get a copy of the fruit tree spray guide, stop by the Walker County extension office at 102 E. Napier Street in LaFayette.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.