Fire Blight Alert & Risk Map Overview

Apple and pear trees are at bloom across Kentucky. Infection by the fire blight bacterium occurs during bloom, thus, protectant antibiotics should be applied when risk is high. 

Risk for infection can be assessed using the Fire Blight Disease Prediction Model. Growers can assess local risk by selecting their county and orchard history. This model incorporates the previous 4 days of weather data plus adds a 7-day forecast for estimating leaf wetness and temperature (thereby estimating risk for bacterial growth and infection). There are 66 Mesonet weather stations throughout Kentucky, thus, weather information for the model is based on data from the closest weather station. A mobile (phone or tablet) friendly version of this site is here.

Remember that apple and pear trees must be in bloom for predictions to be accurate. The map overview presented here indicates fire blight risk as of April 11, 2022 (Figure 1).  According to the current assessment, risk is marginal for Western Kentucky and low for the rest of the state. Growers are encouraged to check the model regularly for the most accurate analyses and county-specific forecasts.

Figure 1: Fire blight risk for Kentucky counties as of April 11, 2022.

Additional Resources

Information regarding prevention and management of fire blight can be found in:

  • Backyard Apple Disease Management Using Cultural Practices (PPFS-FR-T-21)
  • Commercial Fruit Pest Management Guide (ID-232)
  • Fire blight (PPFS-FR-T-12)
  • Fire blight of Apple (Video)
  • Using Prediction Models to Manage Diseases in Fruit (PPFS-FR-T-07)

By: Nicole Gauthier, Plant Pathology Extension Specialist, and Kimberly Leonberger, Plant Pathology Extension Associate

Posted in Fruit
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