Answer: I'm sorry about your tree. Unfortunately, these trees may be beset by a number of problems and are very susceptible to stress, such as that undoubtedly caused by the repeated droughts your area has experienced. One of the more common afflictions is fireblight, which causes shoots to curl and foliage to blacken; another is borer infestation, which can lead to some defoliation. The best thing to do would be to consult with your county extension agent or a certified arborist to identify the cause of the problem and determine if and how to treat it.
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