Thistle Byre Farm

  (Delphi, Indiana)
Wisdom over the backfence and happenings around the farm
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Fire Blight!

Fire blight causes every fruit farmer's heart to skip a beat!  This  dreaded bacterial woe hit our small farm this week causing our family to pick up their tree trimming supplies in a hurry and use them with gusto. Dipping our tools in a Clorox  solution with every cut we attempted to trim the infected branches out of each tree 12-15 inches below the infection sight.  All the trimmings were then burned.  It is now a waiting game...was this lethal or did we get it in time....

How did this happen?  Fire blight is caused by (Erwinia amylovora) a bacterium that can enter via insects, such as aphids or bees, wet and humid weather or over fertilization.  Fire blight can also take advantage of untimely pruning cuts, open blossoms, hail injury, sucking insects, or even strong winds that may tear leaves.  We suspect our wet spring, open blossoms and some high winds that tore leaves.  The cure is quick, comprehensive trimming and often an antibiotic the past streptomycin has been used by commercial growers along with several other sprays..We don't choose to use the antibiotic route.  The newer book called The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips offers our three fold strategy:  Pruning out the infected branches, eliciting specific anti-bacterial responses for and by the plant, and enhancing competitive colonization.  

Check your trees.  This is widespread in our area.It hits pears and apples.  We do not grow pears for this reason. I have seen many trees with it's characteristic scorched leaf look.  Check with the Purdue plant pathology department if you have questions and make use of their new phone app.  


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