OSU Research Helps Prevent Fire Blight

Pear TreeCORVALLIS, Ore. — Researchers at Oregon State University have helped find a way to fight a disease that kills apple and pear trees.

The disease is called fire blight, and scientists say it can spread quickly when flowers are in bloom.

OSU researchers say spraying a yeast-based product will help prevent fire blight. That or a new water-soluble copper product will provide protection the trees need.

“It will allow people to continue to economically produce fruit and not have the disease,” said Kenneth Johnson, an OSU Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. “The disease can severely damage their orchards.”

The National Organics Standard Board is likely going to ban common antibiotics that are currently used to get rid of fire blight in organic orchards.

“It takes a lot of work to get organic certification in an orchard,” Johnson said. “So if they can prevent the damage, they can continue to produce organic fruit and stay in business.”

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