Fire Blight

by Eti Pouly

One plant health issue that is local to the area I am from, Northeast Ohio, is Fire Blight.

Fire blight is a very common in apples, pears, and anything from the rose family. Fire blight is a bacterium. It is commonly known for entering in the plant through lesions or a surface injury on the plant. Also, fire blights cause cankers in apple trees and pear trees which are sunken in the area by necrosis or death of cells. Fire blight kills the branches and makes them make terminal growth and black tips, but does not cause them to fall off.  Hint: that is why it is called fire blight, because it makes the plant look like it was flamed with a torch.

Fire blight is easy to be spread and can be done by pruning, wind, dew, birds, etc. It attacks new growth meaning that fertilizing with high nitrogen can create a favorable environment for fire blight to grow and spread.  Fire blight if infecting the tree trunk can cause bacterial oozing attracting insects, which can spread the bacteria to other plants. The bacteria called Erwinia amylovora is similar to the bacteria causing strep throat and some unorthodox procedures to prevent apple trees from fire blight is spraying cuts or breaks with strep throat medicine.  My family has a small apple orchard, which used to get fire blight, but my father takes measure to prevent fire blight. My father also uses planting beds to prevent humans accidentally causing damage to the tree and regular pruning to prevent too much weight on branches and to produce a plant that has reachable fruit.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.



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