What is it?

Fireblight is a bacteria affecting trees in the Rosaceae family which includes flowering fruit trees such as apples, pears, plums, berries and cherries. It causes sudden wilting and dying; twigs can appear scorched or have a shepherd’s hook shape at the end.

What can I do?

Choose fruit trees that are resistant to Fireblight. Once infection occurs there is no chemical cure; pruning of diseased twigs and branches is the only effective method of control. Winter is a good time to prune. Where possible cut back 30 to 45 cm from the point of infection. Remove sprouts from the base of trees and water shoots on the trunk and larger limbs as these soft growth tissues are easily infected. Sterilize cutting tools with household bleach after each cut and dispose of all infected branches in sealed garbage bags along with household garbage - not yard waste.  

For more information, please view the Fireblight pages from our Integrated Pest Management Manual or Fireblight Information Sheet (pdf).