[NAFEX] Fireblight in the south

Moyer, Richard ramoyer at king.edu
Wed Jun 4 09:39:59 EDT 2003

Topggun wrote:
"Don't you have fireblight in KY? I have not seen a bearing Bartlett in the
south - there may be some - I just have not seen any in 71 years."

I've heard the (half?)joke that Western pear growers want Easterners to
continue believing that fireblight prevents Eastern pear production.

Here in Tennessee, I know of decades old Bartletts, regular bearers, which
do get hit by blight on occasion, losing 1-2 year old growth.  But these
Bartletts are not being pushed with nitrogen to get fruit to market quickly
and return on capital.

Several eastern orchardists have remarked easier blight management in pears
than apples.  Blight damage can be minimized with planning and execution.
Through careful cultivar choice (such as Warren, Potomac, Blake's Price,
etc; others in far south) genetic resistance works in our favor, as does
management to minimize excess new growth.  In my small orchard, the Asian
pear 'Korean Giant' is more blight resistant than any of my 'highly
resistant' apples, and is one of my most vigorous trees.

Paul Eastabrook of Virginia Gold Orchards pushes their Asian pears with
chicken manure, but removes blight as soon as it appears.

More info on fireblight at my article "Pears for the Carolinas", found at

Richard Moyer
East Tenn--Goumi now ripening



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