The Q&A Archives: Is my Pear Tree dying?

Question: I lanted a pear tree in May. It never sprouted any leaves nor grow any new branches. Now all the branches are turning black from the top down to the junction with the main stem. What is wrong? Is it dying? Should I prune it? Or dig it up?

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description, it sounds like your tree is not doing well at all. If it never had any leaves at all, then it is dead. If it had some leaves but is now turning black along the branches from the tips down, then it is suffering from fireblight.

This is a common and very serious bacterial infection on susceptible varieties of pear, apple and certain other plants. Once the symptoms appear, the usual recommendation is to prune out the infected wood. But with a new tree, this severe pruning will be very detrimental.

I would suggest you consult with your local county extension to see if they can advise whether or not it is worth trying to treat the tree. They will have the most up to date information on what to do and how/when is best for maximum results.

In the meantime, carefully clean up and dispose of any fallen foliage or twigs or branches and dispose of them in the trash. Clean any equipment that has touched the tree with a solution of one part bleach and four parts water to try to prevent reinfection. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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