Fireblight on Kieffers - help !


Active Member
20210528_102735.jpg I have 4 large Kieffer Pear trees that are totally eaten up with fireblight . They are between 10 and 15 years old and 25 feet tall .Ive always had a few blight strikes on them from year to year and do my best to cut it out . However , last year it was pretty bad . I used a ladder and tried to cut out what I could reasonably get to .
This year the fireblight is much worse. They are in the middle of around 20 other pear and apple trees. I have a Moonglow and a couple of Ayres pears that are directly next to them with not one spec of fireblight
Im tempted to cut all 4 of them down as I dont want them infecting the rest of the trees . It would make me sick to cut them down because they are usually great producers . If they were sitting out somewhere by themselves , I think that I would just leave them alone and see what happens , but Im nervous about the other trees being in close vicinity .
Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated .
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Worm, I could be wrong, but I think if your other trees were in danger that they would already have it. Ayers and Moonglow are the most resistant pears I have ever seen, and I would be surprised to see them infected. I also suspect that your Kieffers are not true Kieffers, because even though they can get FB, I've never seen it that bad. I have several trees bought as Kieffers that are close but not the Real McCoy....

Your situation is a tough call. I will tell you one story that might interest you - My neighbor had an apple tree that was infected so badly with FB that I thought it was going to die. I had never seen anything like it. It set 30 yards from one of my Ayers, but my pear was not infected. He didn't do anything to the apple tree and somehow it lived. Three years has gone by and his apple tree has grown new limbs and you can't tell it was ever infected. This year it is loaded with fruit.

His apple is a full sized Milam tree on its own roots that was dug up and transplanted. It was 12 years old, and when it got FB was the first year it flowered. I think this just reinforces the opinion I have had for quite some time about the advantages of large trees on their own roots. If that had been a dwarf or semi dwarf, I think it would have died. I'm going to predict that in the future that his tree will see some more FB but it will always be able to survive it and probably will be a good fruit tree for him.
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If they always get it to some degree, I’d cut back the current dead stuff aggressively and topwork next spring to something different. By utilizing the existing rootstock, you’ll have a producing tree in ~2 years as opposed to starting from scratch. Seems like a better option than keeping a fireblight magnet that can put your entire orchard at risk.

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Thanks for chiming in . You give me some encouragement . These days , I order my trees from nurseries including ( Blue Hill , Century Farm Orchards etc ), but I rolled the dice and bought those 4 from Lowes - ( I know-I know ! ) Im now believing that they are fake Kieffers as you like to allude to . It makes me gun shy to get any more but I see that Blue Hill has what Ryan calls a Danville Kieffer that he says is more fireblight resistant . I might give a couple of those a try . Did I say that I am a glutton for punishment ?
I also totally agree with you on dwarf and semi dwarf vs standard size . Im going to give them a reprieve and just see what happens .
I will keep you posted .
Thanks again and have a great Memorial Day weekend !
Good luck Worm, and have a great weekend.

PS - I have a lot of faith in anything that Ryan says, because he has a passion for fruit trees that is amazing.
Thanks Native and g squared
I have been very happy with my Blue Hill trees . Ryan always gets back with me with any questions concerns etc .
I appreciate all of the advice and comments .- Good stuff ! I am really hoping that that these trees can fend this off but after giving them some time ( a year ( s) / give or take ) ) things arent working out , topworking sounds like a good option . I have never grafted anything in my life ,but am willing to learn. In following this forum , I know many of you fruit tree guys topwork on a regular basis . I might be picking both of your brains sometime in the future .
Ill keep you guys posted on how things turn out .