Fire blight is a bacterial disease that can severely damage trees, and it can even kill a tree if it's left untreated. It causes a tree's leaves to look like they've been burnt — they turn brown, dry out, and curl up. Fire blight also causes brown cankers to form on a tree's limbs, which are large collections of the bacteria that cause fire blight. The bacteria survive in the cankers over the winter, and they'll start attacking the tree again when it begins to grow in the spring.
Treating fire blight can be very difficult when the infection is severe, and you may have to remove a tree with fire blight in order to prevent it from spreading to the other trees on your property. To learn more about how you can treat fire blight and how you can tell if you'll need the tree removed, read on.
Can You Treat Fire Blight on Trees?
The only way to fully treat fire blight is to remove the bacteria that are causing the disease. You'll need to prune all of the diseased branches and scrape off the cankers on the tree's limbs. Unfortunately, this can be highly damaging to the tree — you're creating an open wound whenever you prune a branch, and more bacteria can invade the open wound in order to spread the infection.
You can spray copper-containing biocides on the diseased areas in order to slow the rate at which the bacteria reproduce and spread. However, these biocides aren't capable of entirely killing off the bacteria. Pruning diseased areas to remove the bacteria is the only way to fully cure the tree.
Do You Need to Remove a Tree That Has Fire Blight?
When a fire blight infection is severe, it's usually best to remove the tree. Once infection reaches the inside of the tree's trunk, there's no way you're able to remove the bacteria that are causing the fire blight, and the tree will eventually die. It's a good idea to remove it before the tree fully dies — a dead tree is a safety hazard on your property since its limbs can snap at any time.
You'll also need to remove the tree if the infection has spread to too many branches. Pruning too many branches at once will kill a tree, regardless of whether or not it has fire blight. You have the best odds of successfully treating fire blight when it's contained to a handful of branches since you won't risk harming the tree by pruning it and scraping off the cankers.
Finally, you should remove the tree if you're worried about fire blight spreading on your property. The bacteria can be transferred from tree to tree by insects, and it can also be blown onto a different tree during a heavy storm. Removing the diseased tree now can help prevent fire blight from infecting your other trees and placing them at risk of dying.
If you have a tree on your property that's showing signs of fire blight, call a tree removal company and have them inspect it. If the fire blight has spread into the trunk or has spread to numerous branches, it's typically a good idea to have it removed immediately in order to prevent fire blight from spreading to your other trees. If only a few branches are affected, you may be able to save the tree by pruning away the diseased areas and keeping a close eye on it to make sure you've fully eliminated the bacteria that cause fire blight
For more information on tree removal, contact a professional near you.