Fire blight is a bacterial disease transmitted to trees by pollinating insects such as the honeybee. Fire blight is mostly spread once temperates exceed 60 degrees in spring. The first visible symptom is generally a rash of infected, black flowers. The disease moves down the branch, blackening young twigs and leaves. The damage is reminiscent of fire scorching. Next, branches begin to develop cankers.
Fire blight is not a curable disease. Once it has been introduced, however, it can be contained somewhat. Most importantly, all infected plant material must be removed immediately once identified. Cut branches at least 12 inches below the infected tissue. Carefully bag the cut branches and remove them from the location for disposal. Once a tree is infected, regular inspections are required.
To avoid spreading the fire blight, it is vitally important that you clean your cutting tools thoroughly after dealing with diseased branches. Soak cutting tools in a mixture of three-parts denatured alcohol and one-part water. A 10 percent solution of liquid laundry bleach can also be used, but it is corrosive to garden tools.
Entomosporium Leaf Spot, a fungus, is typically seen during long, wet periods in spring and fall. Young leaves are the first to show symptoms, characterized by bright red spots on both leaf top and bottom. As the disease transfers to mature leaves, the spots become gray with a brown margin. As the disease progresses, spots grow together to form large blotches with black specks at the center, which are fungal fruiting bodies.
Once a tree has contracted Leaf Spot, it can be controlled but not cured. First, remove infected material from the tree. Then, before new growth begins in spring, apply an appropriate fungicide every 10 to 14 days into June. No fungicide is needed during the dry months of summer. Several applications can be made in October and November if wet conditions prevail.