|I have a pear tree in my yard that stands about 18ft tall. About two years ago 1/4 of the leaves all in one place on the tree turned black and died. Ever since then the tree hasn't produced any fruit. What should I do?
|Sounds suspiciously like the disease called fire blight, a common disease on pears. You can confirm this by looking for wilted branch tips, cankers on branches or trunk, and oozing material coming from twigs, branches or cankers. Shoots will look like they have been scorched; hence the name fire blight.
Fire blight is a bacterial infection that spreads rapidly. All infected twigs, branches and cankers should be removed from the tree. Prune well back--6-8"--from evidence of infection. That is, if you see signs of infection on the last 6" of the branch, prune off 12-14" to be sure you are removing all infected material.
Be sure to disinfect your pruning tools after each cut. Use one part household bleach to nine parts water, or dip your cutting tools in pure alcohol after each cut. After you've removed the infected plant parts you can help protect the remainder of the tree by spraying with a lime-sulfur (Bordeaux) dormant spray.
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