Plant Diseases/Crab apple with Fire Blight
We have an old, large crab apple tree that we love. In 2012 and 2013 we had some branches die out in the spring- leaves, blossoms, small apples just turn brown and die. We pruned what we could reach.
It has gotten a little worse each year. With the timing and look of the branches, I assumed it was fire blight. But there is no ooze, no blackening, no cankers, no shepherd's crook. Is there anything else it might be?
FB usually occurs in a random fashion on the tree. Tips wither and look scorched. Close exam will show a sunken dark brown to black canker or lesion on the twig. Only when relative humidity and temperature are just right will you see the ooze. You may need to get a lab exam to confirm FB. Contact your local county Agricultural Extension Service for this. There is an office usually in every county- often in the courthouse. These folks can have a sample checked under a microscope for this bacterial agent.