Answer: Fireblight has been a more serious than usual problem this year. Fireblight affects pears, pyracantha, apples and less seriously, loquats and escallonia. It is caused by bacteria. Fireblight appears on the tips of new growth or at flower cluster. The plant part will be blackened as if scorched by fire or a blowtorch. The new growth tips then curl downward as on a shepherd's crook. To control, cut 9 to 12 inches below affected tissue, sterilizing pruning tools between each cut with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution.
The disease fireblight caused by Erwinia amylovora is very infectious and can be spread as droplets of bacterial ooze are produced in the springtime. However, researchers at University of California Berkeley note that most infections occur on peduncles of flowers and the bacteria are most likely spread by pollinators.
To control fireblight, prune as suggested above to rid your escallonia of the bacteria.
Best wishes with your landscape!
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