Fire Blight Session at OFVC 2015

Figure 1. Apple tree severely infected with fire blight during 2014.

Figure 1. Apple tree severely infected with fire blight during 2014.

Michael Celetti, OMAFRA Plant Pathologist Horticulture Crops Program Lead

The management of fire blight cannot be obtained with a single ‘silver bullet’ strategy but requires the utilization of all available knowledge about the pathogen. To learn more about The Fire Blight Session to be held at the Scotia Bank Convention Center in Niagara Falls Ontario, starting at 9:20 am in Room 204 on February 18, 2015 please visit the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention Website at www.ofvc.ca.

Fire blight is a serious disease of pear and apple. In 2014, several apple orchards in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes where severely infected with this disease. Models such as Cougar Blight predicted the potential infection of apple blossoms in the spring during 2014. Growers who experienced the wrath of fire blight in the past and took action by protecting their orchards with streptomycin still observed some fire blight in some orchards but managed to keep this disease from causing significant damage. Some growers who never had fire blight in their orchards before and did not protect them were severely affected by this disease.

Up until recently, streptomycin was the only effective management tool registered in Ontario for control of this devastating disease. It was feared that reliance on streptomycin for fire blight management may lead to the development of resistant strains of the pathogen.  Fortunately a new biological based product Blossom Protect and a new antibiotic Kasumin have been registered in Canada to help growers manage fire blight and possibly reduce the risk of resistance developing.

Fire blight requires an integrated approach for successful disease prevention and management. To help Ontario apple and pear growers learn about the latest technology available to manage fire blight in their orchards, a Fire Blight Session will be held at Scotia Bank Convention Center in Niagara Falls Ontario, starting at 9:20 am in Room 204 on February 18, 2015 as part of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. Researchers on the forefront of fire blight management from Cornel University, Michigan State University and Agriculture Canada will present and discuss prevention and management of this disease. A panel of experienced Ontario apple growers will talk about their experiences with fire blight and the importance of prevention and management.  Participants will learn how to use and interpret the fire blight prediction model Cougar Blight warnings to aid in the timely application of fire blight management products.

 

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