Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cedar Apple Rust Gall


Cedar-Apple Rust is a bane in my garden. I hate it! At first the gall; which shows itself in Eastern Red Cedars (Juniperous virginiana), seems harmless enough, even if it is a bit weird looking. There it is above. This is the actual hard gall and is how the fungus overwinters in the junipers. You see, cedar-apple rust, aka Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, is a fungus that completes its life cycle on both junipers and apple trees. In my case, I have a crabapple not far from this particular juniper and I suspect the two are exchanging fungi whenever it rains. The crabapple never shows any damage so the juniper must be getting the worst of it. Stupid plants!! They need to quit that frolicking and exchanging of fungi!

I actually cut about seven of these galls out of this particular juniper. What is also funny, is that I have other junipers that are located closer to some of the crabapples growing in my garden, yet this particular juniper is the only one that shows any infection. Go figure.

Well, with the recent warm weather and rains we've been experiencing, guess what happens to the gall?

It turns into something totally different from the hard gall in the first picture. It kind of looks like a soft sea urchin doesn't it? It feels just like it looks too. Yucky! The orangey tentacles growing out of the gall are called telias. These telias produce spores that are spread by the wind to the crabapple trees. Once on the crabapples the spores grow and produce lesions that are unsightly. In mid to late summer during dry hot weather, the lesions produce more spores called aeciospores. These spores are blown onto nearby junipers and the whole process starts all over again. Yuck!
The Cedar-apple rust fungus can be treated with fungicides. I have chosen not to spray fungicides in my garden, so I guess I'll just live with the fungus or cut it out of the tree when I can. I am hoping I avoided infection by cutting all the galls out of this tree. Time will tell. The best management practices include planting resistant varieties of trees when you are able to. This is not always the case and in fact, I think rarely is the case. Most junipers around here grow wild so how could you possibly determine which is resistant? The other junipers in my garden that I mentioned above show no signs of being infected, so perhaps they are resistant? I don't know, but I do know I will not part with this very mature juniper in my front garden. I accept this fungus since it will not kill my trees, simply disfigure them a wee bit, and they all recover. All gardeners have to decide for themselves what type of damage they will accept and use best practices to manage problems....

in the garden....

42 comments:

  1. Hi Tina .. this is a very aggravating problem indeed !
    We actually got rid of a tree because it was so rampant in the neighborhood .. once one garden is struck it is a domino affect.
    Now I read as much as possible about trees and their resistance and vigor against problems like this .. but thanks for reminding me again to be on the look out !

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  2. If you didn't have apples near by would the gall still be able to survive? I will read the link that you have within your post. For SC I was thinking of including Juniperus virginiana AND Malus 'Prairifire'. Interesting.

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  3. Ew! I've never heard of this or seen it, surely weird looking.

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  4. It's hard to accept these diseases when you know there is not much you can do about them. You know the oak tree that you helped us with--now another tree is infected with the little wasp! These are mature, pretty trees--such a shame, but we will just live with it.

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  5. I just noticed a tree down the road from us was full of gall! Yuck is right. I don't have the problem on our ornamentals, but haven't looked through our woods at the native trees.

    Cameron

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  6. Well, I learned something today! I hate those pesky diseases like that. They certainly know how to rain on a parade!

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  7. Joy, Yes-very aggravating. I did not know you had it up there.

    Janet, I am not sure if it would survive or not but am thinking yes. I have heard the spores can travel great distances and they always find a home somewhere. Prairiefire is said to be resistant and I know I have some resistant crabapples here, including Prairiefire so the issue is more with the unsightlyness of the gall on the juniper. That is the key I believe. Here is a link on resistance. http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Apple/Cedar%20Apple%20Rust.asp

    Dawn, Yes!

    Linda, Certain oaks are more susceptible to these wasps. I have one that is filled with them. QUITE unsightly and frustrating as they are too high up to cut out. Yup, gotta live with it for now. Even the Bayer is not helping.

    Cameron, Yes, my issue is more with it in the junipers. Hard to spot unless you are looking for it or it is mature like these. Then it is like a black apple hanging there. I hope it is not an issue there.

    Jamie and Randy, These funguses and diseases are always keeping us on our feet for sure.

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  8. I love Cedars, I saw a lot of them at California, oh I miss the USA !!! love Kathrin

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  9. Ewwww, I think that thing is mildly scary looking. Sounds like you have a handle on things though. Good luck!

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  10. Thanks for an informative post. I have quite a few cedars, and guess I am lucky not to have the gall rust.

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  11. Very icky. My in-laws had some on their junipers this weekend, too high to reach. I think they are a much greater problem when you have an orchard of apple trees. They effect the fruit and do a good job of making it inedible.

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  12. Eeew. That's gross looking. I have come to detest the use of chemicals too so I think I'd prefer to cut like you do. I can deal with a little disfiguration of trees.

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  13. Yuck is right. I've seen these but never knew what they were or how bad they were. I don't have anything here like that.
    VERY windy here--lost my Purple Leaf Plum last night due to high winds. Poor baby is laying on it's side. I will miss her.

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  14. Ew! That is one of the grossest things I've ever seen in the garden! Goodness! How do you get rid of them?!

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  15. Here the apple trees are more effected than the cedars. The older varieties of apples and crabapples are susceptible to so many problems. By midsummer the mature crabapple trees are a mess.
    Marnie

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  16. Sort of looks like coral in my saltwater tank.
    Brenda

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  17. They look downright creepy. The first picture was bad enough but the second....yukky indeed!
    BTW - thanks for the input into my Elm identification. I must buy a tree book.

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  18. I have some cooley sprue galls on my spruces. We are always cutting them out. Darn things! Insects and fungi can do some pretty amazing things though.

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  19. I did notice the gall problem the first year we were here...It totally disfigured a crabapple. Since then we haven't planted anything that is susceptible! gail

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  20. When you enlarge the first photo, the tentacles look like worms. Too bad they could not do some frolicking with the worms from yesterday and do good in the garden.

    Too bad about your plum tree Lola.

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  21. I had all our Washington Hawthorns (aka Washington Thorn) taken out because of that problem... that and the thorns.

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  22. Very interesting, Tina. I've never seen this before, but we don't have any junipers, so perhaps we are lucky. I will be inspecting my crabapple trees more carefully, though.

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  23. I think this is pretty much what ruined our crabapple. It was just awful and got worse every year.
    I wonder if there are any organic type of sprays for this? Hope I don't end up with it on my apple tree.

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  24. I had no idea these existed. They're sort of fascinating to admire from a distance, but it must be frustrating to have to deal with them on an ongoing basis. I'd go with the cutting-them-off plan, too, and if it ended up being a chronic problem, I'd consider taking out the one offending plant. I've been battling a bamboo mite that way, and nearing my wits end on trying to cure it.

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  25. They are weird looking. I remember as a kid we would go to my grandparents, head out in the woods and pick a Christmas tree. They would have those galls all over them

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  26. Interesting post and pics, Tina. You know how I love mysterious things. Have you tried Neem oil spray on the galls? I've bought it to treat our fire ant problem (not very effective at that; what is?!), but the label says it's also quite effective against fungus and mold infestations. You can find a concentrate online or at Lowe's or Home Depot. It's fairly economical because you dilute it with water in a spray bottle. Neem is a natural plant oil and smells citrusy.

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  27. Sorry about your galls. I just posted trying to find out what the little green balls were falling from our oak tree. And you guessed it they are galls. Wasp make mine.
    Patsy

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  28. Yewwww! It does seem yucky! Glad to hear they wouldn't affect the tree greatly and I guess scraping them off should do the trick. Well, good luck with them.
    My aunt used to scrap away the egg-like formations on the mango tree in her garden which'd do the trick but again they spread quickly (not sure what they are) and dangerous-looking larvae burst out of it, which I heard would irritate your skin when touched and I heard her saying it's painful. Hope yours doesn't have similar effects.

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  29. Tina, we have it or a similar thing, too. It put galls on my Washington Hawthorns--way too many to cut off. I didn't see any of the evergreens afflicted with their part of the cycle. It is always interesting to see what happens in the garden, isn't it?

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  30. I'm glad to hear some others have never seen these - I haven't. I guess that's a good thing. Now I'll know what it is if I do. I learn so much here Tina. And that is a good thing too. Retaining is my problem! LOL

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  31. I don't think I've seen these here. I think your instinct not to use fungicides is good, even if it takes a little extra time to find each piece and cut it out.

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  32. Hi all! Long day and cold too! I would never have expected this in Tennessee today!

    Barbee and Julena, You both mentioned the Washington hawthornes-I don't grow these but will be forewarned should I get one. I had no idea.

    Bennie and Patsy, Welcome! Yes galls are frustrating and there are so many you just can't keep up. At least I can't.

    W2W, Nothing works for fire ants. I had that issue in southern Alabama. Wouldn't ever live there again because of the ants! I'll look into Neem. I have read of its usefulness.

    I noticed while I was outside today there are tons more of these in the tree-too high for me to reach so it will be as it is. This is a battle we will have to fight for the long term. Sigh.

    Thanks to all who dropped by to add input. You guys have a good night.

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  33. Well I never! The gall of that gall!!

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  34. Kind of like a bad case of acne for the poor trees!

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  35. That gall DOES look yucky. Our gardens do produce some strange things sometimes, don't they!
    I had to laugh at your last comment on my blog. It's hard to keep up with everyone else's blogs, and I certainly don't do a perfect job of it :-)

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  36. Ick, this looks like a scary gall...

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  37. I don't have much problem with galls, but I see them around my house in some of the wild areas. One of the local native plant society persons showed me one of her books--all about galls! Their variety is pretty amazing.

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  38. has anyone dissected one of these galls? i would most certainly like to see what's inside!

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  39. You can see the inside of a gall on his first picture, bottom-left. It's yellowish and sort of hollow. I had them all over my cedar and picked them off... but the apple tree nearby now has rust-colored spots! Argh! Does anyone know if burning the galls releases spores in the air? I might be better off just bagging them up and throwing them out.

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  40. Wyvrn,
    I am pretty sure burning the galls does not release the spores. I believe the spores need moisture to spread. I usually just cut my galls off with clippers then throw them away in a plastic bag. There is not much you can do for the fungus once on apple trees. Sometimes spray help but I don't think they help too much. Cut the damage out and plant resistant varieties in the future. I know on my crabapples the fungus is not usually a problem. I just don't like looking at it of course.

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  41. The heavy rain of the end of April, and temperature above 50 has brought out MANY orange "blossoms" on the 2 cedars near our small orchard. It does affect the apples trees and apples. The galls are creepy enough, like wrinkled brown golf balls covered with dimples.
    So out of each dimple has grown an orange gelatinous yucky tentacle. Instead of calling them galls, ogres or spiders might be more to the point. I cut probably 50 "blossoms" out of each cedar, then also cut off a dozen lower hidden limbs, completely covered with that orange yuck. (And picked up a lot of orange pieces from under the trees.) Filled up a 5 gal. bucket from the 3 trees, and another 5 gal bucket from the trees around our fields, now how to dispose of it? I had a spray bottle of alcohol, and sprayed the limbs that had only a thin orange coating, rather than cutting them off. But I don't know if it kills it. Thinking of taking the cedars out. I had never seen the orange things before yesterday. And, yes, I had cut off the larger galls I saw several months ago. There must have been a lot I didn't see. Even the tiny ones made "blossoms". One blossom was as big as my fist ! We have wonderful Stayman apples, but not healthy looking, from the rust.

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