University of Maryland Extension

Pyracantha Scab - Shrubs

infected pyracantha berries

Return to Common Problems of Shrubs

The most important and common disease of firethorns (Pyracantha spp.) in the landscape is called scab. The fungus Spilocea pyracanthae causes scab. This fungal pathogen survives the winter on infected twigs and leaves. The first symptoms appear in the spring as dark olive green to black lesions, sometimes sooty in appearance on leaves and crusty in appearance on twigs and fruit. Early disease symptoms also include yellowing of foliage. Severe disease outbreaks cause extensive premature leaf and fruit drop on highly susceptible cultivars.

Disease Management - The best options for disease management are to select resistant cultivars of firethorn. Firethorn cultivars resistant to both scab and fireblight include 'Apache', 'Fiery Cascade', 'Mohave','Navaho', 'Pueblo', 'Rutgers', 'Shawnee', and 'Teton'.


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