Can I do something NOW to minimize the damage? I just had knee surgery and went out to look at the garden for the first time in several days, and small limb ends are blackening and curling over. Most sites tell you how to treat them when they are dormant. Should I prune out the diseased bits now? Anything I can do?
Thanks. I only have 2 trees, a Keiffer and an Oriental.
Cut the diseased branches a foot below the damage. Bag and dispose of all those branches. The blight is moved from tree to tree through the flower and can come from any member of the Rosaceae Family that is susceptible to the blight. The advise I received from the Extension Services agent was to remove all the flowers in the bud stage and not to let the trees bloom for 2 or 3 years, to get rid of the really susceptible plants and trees and get resistant ones instead. Bees and the wind can carry the blight spores for several miles.
You will have to treat you tress when they are dormant, but unfortunately if the blight is anywhere within a 1 to 2 mile radius of your yard, you may be fighting a losing battle if your neighbors don't do something also.
Fire blight likes lush new growth, like you get after a wet Spring. I haven't had any problems in recent years because we have been in a semi-drought. So avoid lush new growth - avoid over-watering, over-fertilizing, and pruning cuts that encourage excess new growth. If you have one tree that is more prone to Blight than the others, I'd get rid of it. That will help protect the ones with mild attacks from future attacks. My Dad used to swear that squirrels also spread fire blight.
When i moved here last year, I had fireblight in my Loquat tree, or that is what it looked like to me. They do not go dormant, but i have been spraying it with Kocide, and very few leaves are showing damage anymore.
But my big problem has been Black Spot on Oriental Persimmon trees. It killed a beautiful Hachiya that i planted last year. I planted a couple more this year, and they both had small signs of it soon after planting. So, I used two fungicides, full dose, in the same tank, and it has reduced the black leaf tips, which is the first sign of it on the persimmon trees, and today i did not find any leaves that showed any sign.
I have been spraying weekly, and if it returns i will use the third common fungicide chemical to make a triple cocktail.