I want you all to look in your orchards for fire blight strikes. I found fire blight in one orchard today and last week I heard of another orchard with fire blight. Look for ends of branches, the terminals, that have turned brown. Often the very tips of the terminals are curved in a characteristic sheppard’s hook. There may also be flower or fruit spurs that have turned brown. Some varieties are much more susceptible than others, but what is most important is what trees have open flower blossoms when we encountered hot weather during bloom. Very susceptible varieties include Paulared, Honeycrisp and Gala.
If you find fire blight strikes, what should you do? Prune out the strikes at least 12 inches below the lowest area of infected tissue, so that you are pruning into healthy tissue. Remove these prunings from your orchard. Try to remove every infected twig, leaf and fruit. More strikes may continue to appear through out the summer. Keep scouting your orchard and keep pruning. Dan Cooley, from UMASS, says it may be helpful to spray Apogee at this time. If you have fire blight and you get hail this season, you should apply a strep spray within 24 hours of the hail event, otherwise the fire blight can spread even more.
Some growers are controlling apple scab well, and others are not. Full rates of Captec sprayed at this time during recent hot, dry weather is a good defense against apple scab. I see several situations where many fruit are damaged with apple scab and perhaps it is a waste of money to continue spraying these trees.
I see more green apple aphids this week, and also more aphid predators. In nearly all situations, predators will control the aphids for you.
For our summer tour we are joining Massachusetts fruit growers at Bolton Orchard in Bolton, MA on Thursday July 12. We will take a bus leaving from the Northern RI Conservation District, the former Cooperative Extension Office, on Smith Street in Greenville around 8am. We will return around 4pm. The cost for the trip is just $15 to cover the cost of the barbeque lunch. We need to register how many are coming from RI, so please call or email me. My number is 874-2967.
Thank you for call and the next message will be recorded on Tuesday,