Forum home Problem solving


This Spring we have lost a pear tree and a hawthorn tree that has been a bit sick since we first planted it 5 years ago - on the suppliers advice we tried moving it but that did not work.  Now another of the trees planted at that time appears to be dying - the blossom has died on the tree before it managed to flower but so far the last of the three looks really healthy.  The fruit trees seem to have developed a canker but the hawthorns were not affected by it. Have treated all trees affected by the canker and so far they appear to be fruiting okay. The laurel and another tree seem to be dropping their leaves as though it is autumn.  Lack of water or feeding has been suggested, but we take care of that.  The local suppliers do not seem to have a clue.



  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    Both trees are members of the Rosaceae family and are prone to fireblight. Your description of the symptoms certainly sounds as if this disease could be the reason why you're loosing the trees. You can read more about it here:

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,172

    laurels drop leaves all summer, probably not a disease unless the growing tips are affected.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • LulubellaLulubella Posts: 16

    Oh gosh - this does not sound good!  The garden is full of cotoneasters, berberis and pyracanthus.  The picture on the web site you referred me to is just like our tree of no name (it was in the garden when we arrived and no one could tell us what it is).  Thank you for the reassurance for the laurel - though next door's tree (which intrudes massively onto our garden) show no sign of ill health at all.  We are obviously going to have to set a couple of days aside, asap, to try to sort this out.  How is it spread?  Will it just go through the garden?  Sorry to ask so many questions, but I am completely floored.

  • LulubellaLulubella Posts: 16

    I have looked at the pictures of fireblight and this is exactly what is happening to all out trees in our new little orchard - perhaps the hawthorn tree that we moved to nearer the fruit (on  the advice of the grower) was diseased and that was why it was failing - and in moving it perhaps we have put it too near to the other trees and thus they have all got infected.   Whatever, practically all the trees in that area are showing the same symptoms so - can anyone give me some advice.  I  have read all the bumph about it but it is a bit like ploughing through treacle to a fruit tree novice -  though the apple tree most badly affect seems to b e fruiting, the leaves are beginning to curl - are we best off just cutting our losses and getting rid of all the damaged trees and starting again - or now that it is in the garden will it just spread.  We have loads of roses, an ash tree that we planted three years ago and a part of the garden that was already planted with cotoneasters before we arrived.  Should we get rid of the 20'tall pyracantha which is shedding its leaves as if it were winter before it can do any more damage?  We do not know enough about this and do not know where we can go to get advice.  Obviously we do not want the good trees to be infected - b ut can we then replant this year without risk of anything else being got at?  The apple tree that is really badly affected has got cankers all over the place but on the base of the trunk there is a big one that almost completely rings the tree.

  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    The best thing to do would be to contact a good tree surgeon so he/she can establish how many of the trees are infected, but they can be expensive. You can look for a local tree specialist at www.

    Normally the infected bits are pruned and the prunings will be have to be removed from the site or burnt. Pruning tools should be desinfected immediately afterwards.

    I wouldn't take the Pyracantha out just yet; I have one myself that shows all the symptoms every year but only in spring. During summer it normally picks up again. Roses and Ash are generally not infected. The Cotoneasters we have in our garden also have symptoms: there are a number of twigs that die back but that seems controlable by cutting them out as soon as I notice them. It's the fruit trees that are most often infected. I know that I would be inclined to remove the apple tree because of the large cankers on the trunk base.

    I really wish I had some better news. It's so sad to loose established trees. Good luck Lulubella!

  • LulubellaLulubella Posts: 16

    Thank you Flowerchild.  The apple tree that is badly damaged is the very first tree that we planted when we starrted the garden - it is so pretty, as well - such a lovely shape reminiscent of my chilldhood.  The second hawthorn that seems to have had it has definitely faded quite quickly - at the beginning of the month it looked quite green andhealthy - it was only when I got closer to see why it had not blossomed that I saw the state of it.  We have two other apple trees in that part of the gsrden, two plum and a cherry - as I said in an earlier post, we had to remove the pear tree, which seemed to be sickening last year.   At least, even though it is going to be expensive if we have to replace them all, they are not 100 year old trees, which we had in a previous orchard.That would have been just soul destroying.

    We cannot just take out the affected bits because they are on the main trunk, below flowering branch level but our other concern is that it might be something in the garden or the soil which is causing the problem.

  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    I actually don't think it's in your soil. This bacterial disease is transmitted by rain, wind, birds and insects so "it's in the air", and can infect trees even through the stomata. We've had some very wet seasons and so, unfortunately the circumstances have been ideal for the disease to spread that quickly.

    Please, do contact a tree specialist if you can or look for a knowledgeable fruit tree grower. They will be able to tell you if your trees can be saved and what precautions to take now and in the future. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    You might find it helpful to look at ths link,Lulbella.

  • LulubellaLulubella Posts: 16

    Yes thank you - I looked at that this am and tried to ring them but no answer!  Have been iut in the garden again this pm and noticed tht the hawthorn is very sick - when I pushed at it it rocked on its roots - I had noticed what looked like damage right at the bottom of the trunk where it comes up out of the ground.I think if I had pushed really hard it might have come up out of the ground a bit - and yet it seems like it was brilliant only last week with lots of lovely blossom forming.  Over the weekend other half will have to chop it down, dig it out, and try to get it burned.  We have a friend who is always collecting wood for his wood burning stove, so he might be able to help out - he has a chipper so might be able at least to get it down to manageable pieces for us.  I am just amazed at how quickly it has gone.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Fireblight shouldn't be affecting the bottom of the main trunk unless it is an extremely young tree.  Damage at that level sounds like Honey Fungus - check for black root-like growths just beneath the bark at ground level.  It's entirely possible you have both and the Honey fungus is weakening the trees in that area, allowing fireblight to quickly take hold.  Get an expert to look at them is my advice.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
Sign In or Register to comment.