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Dogwood and Fire Blight

My dad and granddad always said that when the dogwoods are blooming, the crappie start biting, and I’d suspect that both the bloom of the dogwoods and the spring bite of the crappie are temperature dependent, no doubt.

 

Salem, Ark. –

Dogwoods – One of the First Signs of Spring

Much like jonquils (daffodils), dogwoods (Cornus florida) are another early sign that spring is upon us. One of the first trees to show some color in the forest, along with redbuds and serviceberry, dogwoods are also a favorite among fishermen. My dad and granddad always said that when the dogwoods are blooming, the crappie start biting, and I’d suspect that both the bloom of the dogwoods and the spring bite of the crappie are temperature dependent, no doubt. However, the name “flowering” dogwood and “bloom” is a little misleading. While dogwoods do, indeed, have flowers, they aren’t what you might think.

The splashes of white that we see in the mostly gray or brown woods this time of year are known as bracts. Bracts, also known as modified leaves, still serve as a means of attracting pollinators. Their flowers are there, but they are a small, inconspicuous little thing that is in the middle of these larger, showy bracts. Another bract that you might be familiar with is that of the poinsettia. Their red, white, or pink leaves are also bracts!

Fire Blight on Pears and Apples

Fire blight season on apples and pears isn’t far away, but prevention now is the key to control. Fire blight is caused by a bacterial pathogen that affects pears, apples, blackberry, and several other ornamental plants. It usually starts as brown or blackened leafs and twigs near the end of the twigs. As it progresses, it moves farther into the heart of the tree. If left unchecked, it can progressively get worse from year to year, resulting in dieback and reduced fruit yields.

Whenever possible, look to plant fire blight resistant cultivars of fruits. Certain cultivars of pears and apples have fairly good resistance to fire blight. If you have any existing plant that is infected with fire blight, prune out the diseased portions of the plant. Locate where the visible diseased portion ends, and then prune back 8-10 inches from there. Remember to always sanitize pruners after each cut to avoid spreading the disease! As with most fruit disease, once you see a problem, it is usually too late to do much about it that season. If you do decide to spray, application of fire blight sprays containing streptomycin beginning at bloom may provide some disease control. If you need more information on resistant cultivars or fruit disease control, give us a call at the Fulton Co. Extension Office at 870-895-3301

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

By Brad Runsick
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Brad Runsick
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
P. O. Box 308 118 West Locust Salem AR 72576
(870) 895-3301
brunsick@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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