Eastern Filbert Blight

Eastern Filbert Blight Help Page

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Burning Rules for Cankered Tree Prunings

Once eastern filbert blight gets into a hazelnut tree it can only be removed by pruning off the infected portions. Pruning out cankers before budbreak in the spring (early March) also reduces the chance of more infections on healthy trees. Simply cutting down cankers or heavily infected trees is not enough to reduce the threat of EFB. Spores of this fungus can still be produced from cankers sitting in brush piles next to or within orchards. The cankered wood must be destroyed to kill the fungus and reduce your EFB risk. Burning your prunings on site is one way to destroy the infected wood.

For most of us, we only need to worry about general agricultural burning between October 15 and June 15. Most of our pruning will be done during the winter months and must be destroyed before budbreak in the spring. Fire safety and air quality are the two important factors with regard to burning that are regulated in Oregon. Although it may seem like there are many regulations and that you might get a "run around' when making inquires, in general, there are few restrictions for agricultural burning (as long as it is not grass seed or gain fields).

Before You Burn

Before you burn you need to contact your local fire district about fire safety. In general, you will get a "verbal" burn permit but there may be other regulations depending on your local area. At the very least, they like to know who will be burning and when in case they get any calls about the fire. The following web site has links to many fire districts. They may or may not have information on open burning but remember "agricultural burning" is not subject to local open burn bans.

Oregon Fire Department Links - http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/Oregon_FD_Websites.shtml

Also find out if the day you want to burn is a "burn day". There is a phone number to call or a web site you can look at to get this information. The "grower line" is 503-986-4755 and will let you know about the restrictions for that day. Burn advisories can be obtained at the following web site for various areas of the state. You can even sign up for an e-mail subscription. Remember that you can only burn during daylight hours.

Burn Advisory - http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/NRD/weather.shtml

If all else fails, give John Byers a call at 503-986-4718. He is the Smoke Management Program Coordinator & Public Information and Outreach Specialist for ODA. He is very helpful and knowledgeable about these regulations.

Alternatives to Burning

Growers are concerned about restrictive regulations for burning EFB infected branches. They would like to chip infected branches but leave the biomass spread throughout the orchard. We have found that canker pieces with intact stroma do survive the chipping process and produce spores when wetted.

A study was conducted in 2006 to determine the risk of using wood chips generated from EFB infected wood around new plantings. Large 4 or 5 year old infected Royal and Ennis hazelnut trees with Eastern Filbert Blight were ground into small wood chips using a Vermeer Model 625 chipper. Wood chips were placed in an empty, fallow field and spread out into a 20 x 20 ft area at a depth of 2 inches. Healthy 2 yr-old Ennis trees were planted into and outside of the mulched area.

Although cankers were effectively broken up by the chipping machine, wood chips contained many intact EFB stroma along with ascospores of the fungus. The incidence of infection did not significantly increase when trees were located within or next to the mulched area.

At this time we can recommend chipping infected branches for all areas in the mid to northern Willamette Valley. However, southern Willamette Valley areas should continue to burn infected wood prunings prior to bud break.

 
 

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All infected wood should be destoyed before budbreak.
All infected wood should be destroyed before budbreak
Photo by Jay Pscheidt, 1992.

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