The Rockdale Gardener

Gardening Posts From Rockdale Cooperative Extension

Fire Blight on Pears

Check out these pictures of Fire Blight infection on flowering pears (photos by Harris County, UGA). According to the UGA Publication on Fire Blight, “Fireblight is a destructive, highly infectious and widespread disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. Fireblight can be a problem in Georgia and is particularly prevalent in some counties. Fire blight attacks blossoms, leaves, shoots, branches, fruits, and roots.”

Fireblight makes a tree look like it has been torched with a flame thrower. The bark at the base of infected twigs becomes black and branches are usually bent, resembling what is referred to as a “shepherd’s crook”. Dead leaves and fruit hang on the branches.

Pruning with infested shears can spread the disease rapidly.


Prune out infected branches 8 inches below the damage when the plants are not wet. UGA recommends that you disinfect pruning tools in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or 10 percent bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water solution) between each cut.

When you can, plant fire blight resistant plant varieties.

Photo by Harris County Extension ,UGA

Photo by Harris County Extension ,UGA

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