Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Webcast highlights strategies for controlling fire blight


February 3, 2017
By Plant Management Network

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January 24, 2017, St. Paul, MN – Fire blight is a serious disease of apple and pear plants that causes rapid wilting and discoloration of shoots and leaves resembling fire damage. The bacterial pathogen has been traditionally managed with streptomycin applications, but antibiotic resistance is limiting the effect of this control measure.

The Plant Management Network (PMN) has released a new presentation entitled Fire Blight and Streptomycin Resistance to help apple growers understand why the resistance has intensified and spread, and to discuss viable management options and new techniques currently under development.

The webcast, developed by Quan Zeng, assistant plant pathologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, covers the biological mechanisms of the Erwinia amylavora pathogen and its history of growing resistance to streptomycin antibiotics. The presentation also discusses management strategies such as:

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  • Over-winter pruning, copper spraying, and canker treatments
  • In-season antibiotic applications, insect control, and other biological controls
  • Promising alternate, non-antibiotic management tools and techniques

The 18-minute presentation is fully open access in the PMN Education Center webcast resource.