Growing fruit is a labor of love that can be a constant battle against bacterial diseases, fungi, and insects during the Spring planting season.
Horticulture specialist Michele Warmund with the University of Missouri Extension suggests that folks plant disease resistant fruit plants to prevent pests and a common bacteria known as fire blight, which occurs early in the Spring planting season.
Warmund says weather can be a factor in how susceptible plants can become to fire blight. “Cool, wet weather; just as we’ve been having this Spring,” she said.
She says when there is moisture in the air from heavy rainfall or heavy dew for an extended period of time, an infection period soon follows. She says this season has been particularly damp. “Whenever you have wet foliage and that’s why it’s hard to grow fruit trees in Missouri,” she said. “It’s because we have high humidity, heavy dew, and a lot of Spring rain-and even rain into June.”
Warmund says fire blight is also known to kill blossoms, fruiting spurs, and in severe cases, entire braches and fruit trees; but some fruit plants are resistant to disases such as fire blight, powdery milldew, cedar apple rust and apple scab.
An anti-biotic spray is the only thing that can be used, though the fire blight can be difficult to control for some fruit growers. Listen to Warmund describe the fire blight bacteria in fruit plants, here. (0:35)
AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:02)