The Q&A Archives: What am I doing wrong. How can I correct it? Yukon Belle Pyracantha

Question: I have a 4 1/2 yr old Yukon Belle Pyracantha that is over 8 ft tall & 4-5 ft wide (trimmed). It is in full sun(southern exposre). My problem is in the spring I get very few blossoms...thus very few winter berries that eventually turn black and fall off the tree. I do not trim until all the blossoms are set, making sure I don't cut off the bloosoms. I fertilize in the early spring and the tree is watered daily by a nearby sprinkler head in my garden(irrigation). We do get high winds in this location. What can I do to increase the blossoms and prevent the winter berries from turning black and falling off the tree? As I write this note, I have one small cluster on this beatiful tree with some blackened berries. Please help me to correct whatever deficency exists. Thank You very much.

Answer: Although this is one of the hardier pyracantha cultivars, I think the lack of blooming is probably related to winter damage, particularly as it is planted in an exposed, windy location. If you could provide a windbreak, that might help.

Also, this deep rooted plant is very tolerant of drier soil once it is well established. It is possible that overwatering it in the fall is delaying its hardening off process and could increase its susceptibility to winter damage as a result. You probably do not need to water this shrub at all, except under drought conditions when an occasional slow, deep watering would be helpful.

The black on the fruit and premature fruit drop are classic symptoms of scab, a fungal disease. This can be treated with a dormant oil spray, and a through clean-up of any fallen foliage and fallen fruit can also help limit reinfection from year to year. Please check with your county extension to confirm the scab diagnosis and have them help you determine the best time to treat for it, as this is weather dependent.

I hope this helps.

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