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Caring for Fruit Trees at the Community Garden

February 28, 2024 - Berthoud Local's Garden Manager, Emmy Ingham, met with the Town of Berthoud's Forestry Department to discuss the health of the fruit trees at the Community Garden at Pioneer Park. Many of the trees are healthy at the garden, but the apple tree in particular has been experiencing some fire blight. The Forestry Department walked through the best practices for caring for fruit trees, and has plans to thin and prune trees in the Garden to keep them healthy.

What is blight?

Simply put, it is a plant disease, typically caused by fungi. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a disease or injury of plants marked by the formation of lesions, withering, and death of parts (such as leaves or tubers). Fire blight is most often seen on apple, crabapple and mountain ash trees. It is a disease that can kill blossoms and shoots.

How to identify fire blight?

Fire blight effects any plant in the rose family - including fruit trees, and is nearly impossible to prevent. Flowers and flower clusters appear water-soaked, then droop and shrivel, turning brown or black. Sometimes referred to a shepherd's hook.

(See below for an example and focus on the top of the tree)

Helpful tips for getting rid of fire blight in fruit trees:

  • It is recommended that you have a certified arborist remove the blight.

  • If you plan to do this yourself, make sure you sanitize your garden tools and wipe them off between each cut. If you do not sanitize between each cut you could transfer the disease to other parts of the tree.

  • Always cut at an angle. Do not blunt cut.

Stay tuned for more Community Garden updates.

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