apple growers (both domestic and commercial) were warned today to
check young trees for signs of Fireblight by Neil Champken owner
of Somerset Cider
Fireblight kills branches and leaders – some
already carrying fruit – on young trees and leaves them looking
diseased and brown. The damage is reminiscent of severe burning
hence the diseases name. The recent unseasonably hot weather followed
by thunderstorms and heavy rain (high humidity) have created ideal
conditions for Fireblight to spread.
“I have heard of reports from some private
gardeners that young shoots on apple trees have gone brown and curled
over which is a tell-tail of Fireblight. Apple growers should also
be looking for a brown, bacterial ooze on shoots and branches,”
said Mr Champken.
Fireblight is a native disease of North America
and was inadvertently brought to the UK in the 1950’s. It
is particularly dangerous for apple and pear growers.
“Insects and wind can spread the blight from
plant to plant. The effects on newly planted orchards can be absolutely
devastating. Any damage should be cut out with disinfected tools
at least one foot below the infected area,” said Mr Champken.
“This sort of remedial treatment will leave
young orchards looking a mess and severely affect yields for a few
years to come but it has to be better than loosing the whole lot.”
is also affected and is a major factor in spreading Fireblight.
Growers should check any Hawthorn in their area especially in their
own hedgerows!” he said.