Most of the time, it’s tough to figure out what’s wrong with your tree, but that’s definitely not the case for this type of rust!
There’s just no missing it. You’ll see strange orange balls appear on cedar or juniper trees. Some people think they look like slimy worms or octopus tentacles.
Read on to learn what they are, how they happen and why they may affect your crabapple or apple tree next!
This type of fungus needs two host trees. So, the disease first develops on a juniper, also called a red cedar, then spreads to apple or crabapple trees. Though, some apple trees are resistant!
Here's how those come to be:
First, fungal spores from infected apples or crabapples settle onto your juniper tree in late summer or early fall.
Nope. Those trees don't bear the burden of rust fungus. They're nothing more than a starting point.
Instead, apple and crabapple trees are usually the ones most affected.
After the galls develop the gelatinous horns in the spring, they release spores that land on apple and crabapple trees. The apple tree leaves become speckled with yellow or orange dots before dropping. As a result, fruit quality declines and may even fall off.
Since junipers aren't harmed by this, it's not necessary to treat them. But, you can take a proactive approach to manage the spread of this by removing any of your juniper trees that sit a few hundred feet or less from your fruit trees.
Focus your treatment on the infected apple or crabapple tree. Trees usually respond well to a few fungicide applications. But since timing is everything when it comes to successful treatment, talk to an ISA Certified Arborist® to get it right.
While they look interesting enough to eat, avoid the temptation. You shouldn’t eat those–or any affected fruits. The infection taints the fruit, making it a lower quality.
Nope. It doesn’t harm humans! In fact, it’s okay to touch them. If you want to take action now, remove the galls by hand, and dispose of them far away from your other trees.