I have good news and bad news. If I were asking my husband which one he would like to hear first he would say the bad so here goes. The bad news is that we have noticed one of the worst spread cases of fire blight specific to a single species of tree in last 20 years. As the title states, that species would be the Spring Snow Crabapples. The good news is that it seems to be mostly contained to that specific host and that it is not a reason to panic, as long as you stay calm and approach the problem methodically that is.
What I wanted to do in this blog is to give an update of what we are currently seeing and to, hopefully, stem any panic or precipitous action. Aka, don’t just go whacking any dead looking branches in your trees or paying for tree sprays that Will Not do any good now that your tree has been infected. Copper sprays and other treatments are to help prevent infection but have no affect once that infection has set in.
One of the key things to keep in mind is that you are fighting a bacteria. Strep throat and ear infections are some of the ones parents become very familiar with. The way we treat those bacterial infections is with an antibiotic. Unfortunately antibiotics are not a viable option for treating landscape trees. Once it is in your tree it cannot be “cured”. Each infection sight is going to have millions of rod shaped cells. There are ways to “amputate” the infection site and I actually detailed those out in the blog I posted about fire blight back on May 9 Fireblight. The main reason not to panic for your tree is that there has been plenty of documented success in the removal of fire blight from infected trees. We recommend researching the proper “amputation” methods whether you choose to do this yourself or have a professional company do it for you. Knowledge is power and you will be that much better of a home/ tree owner if you know at least the basic pros and cons of fire blight pruning.