Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Blue Berry

Fruit of native Cedar tree

During one of our many treks along Cunningham's Ditch, which runs behind our house and is actually a small creek, we found a small cedar tree growing along the bank. This was a couple of years ago, and it was just a small seedling then, which Romie wanted to relocate to our yard.

It was nicely shaped and I was happy when he came walking back to the house with it. We planted it in the back yard and all was well. Then it started sprouting these orange growths that looked other-worldly. I didn't know if it was caused by an insect or if it was a disease, or just what, but they increased in number and size as time went on. The tree didn't seem to be suffering any, but I was pretty sure it wasn't normal or desirable for it to be sporting such things.

I later found out it was cedar apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)and it is a fungus that affects...c'mon, guess! Cedars and apple trees. The fungus overwinters on the cedar tree in the form of galls. When the temperature rises above freezing and wetting occurs, as in spring rains, the gall changes in appearance and releases spores, which will then infect any neighboring apple trees. Unless they're 'Red Delicious' apple trees, which are nearly immune to cedar apple rust.

The fungus can be passed back and forth between the cedars and the apples (also crabapples and junipers), but the apple will never reinfect itself. Apple trees are always infected by nearby cedars. We've got numerous cedars within a mile of our property and of course, our small cedar tree that Romie brought from the ditch bank. You'll see small ones growing along the ditch banks quite a bit here.

In order for apple trees to escape infection (without using fungicide), all cedars should be removed from a two-mile radius of apple trees. For complete protection, make it five miles.
We didn't know all this when we planted the little cedar tree, and guess where we planted it? Oh, about twenty feet from our two apple trees. We couldn't have planned that any worse. Or so we at first thought.

Our two apple trees are 'Red Delicious.'

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Muum said...

Who knew? Sometimes when I think of all the fungus/mold/bugs out there, I get a bit overwhelmed! Glad you have the right kind ofapple trees!

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

We have those orange blobs on our cedar tree and always wondered what it was. We usually cut them off and get rid of them. Early spring seems to be a good time to do that before spores are released. Thanks for some very good info on GTS.

Nancy J. Bond said...

How fortunate that your apple trees will be safe. That IS a strange looking growth. :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are indeed lucky. There was some kind of growth on the cedar in our yard this winter. There wasn't that much on it. I cut them off. I hope it doesn't hurt our old apple tree. It wouldn't matter if there were cedars in our garden or not because as you say these cedars are all over the country side. The birds love those pretty berries.

Dave said...

Good to hear you planted the right kind of apples! My in-laws were concerned over planting a hemlock tree near the apples they planted. They didn't realize that hemlocks are not carriers of that disease. The area where they live is full of cedars. They won't be able to escape it. I told them this but they still haven't gotten the hemlock tree.

Tom Arbour said...

Kylee- That is a really crazy looking fungus. I'll have to keep my eye out this when I'm out and about. Thanks for sharing.

BTW- I've got an orchid that will be blooming soon. Its the first time that I've had one bloom after the blooms senesced after the initial blooms have stopped blooming. And I just picked up another orchid for $3 bucks at Kroger. I think the disease has spread southeast to Columbus. Luckily, we're both allergic to cats!


Aiyana said...

How lucky are you--Red Delicious apples right in your garden. I love these--I have one a day!
The photo of the cedar fruit is great. I love the one spot of color, and the info on fungus--although I won't have to worry about it as I have to cedars or apples--was very interesting.

Anonymous said...

I don't know quite what it is, but I'm having a terrible time today trying to comment on bloggers who use Blogger! Anyway, just had to say I had every cedar tree ripped out last year. I am allergic to them. Luckily for me, pines are the dominant force in this part of the country.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ha! I was just reading about this yesterday! I was trying to figure out what kind of cedars we had along our property line, and of course, they are eastern red cedars like what most everyone has. The rust thing scared me a bit--we've got two crabapples, so I hope not to see this anytime soon. (apparently these cedars love disturbed, open areas, and are considered invasive--the only way for farms to keep pasture for livestock is to viciously burn all of them down--but I bet you knew that).

Melanie Chopay said...

We are just loaded down with cedar trees here and they all have that cedar apple rust goop. Not a apple tree that I know of but a 2 miles radius is pretty big. We do have lots of wild cherry trees in the woods next to our house. I'll have to google and find out if they're a host too.

Unknown said...

Aren't tree diseases intriguing, in their own way? I don't recall seeing this around here, despite the huge proliferation of apple trees (lots of orchards, plus wild trees). Talk about serendipity--that's about the only good use for a Red Delicious I can think of, their resistant to this fungus (I prefer Golden Delicious, especially after spending a cold November harvested Red Delicious in an orchard years ago.)

Kylee Baumle said...

Muum ~ I'm glad, too! And yeah, it can be overwhelming when you think of all that can ruin our plants and trees!

Crafty Gardener ~ I just pulled ours off yesterday. Then I went in the house and pulled out the cedar needles from my fingers. LOL.

Nancy ~ This has been going on for years, but we just learned about it last year!

Lisa ~ What you had was probably the galls that are the winter form of the fungus. I just picked them off our little tree yesterday.

Dave ~ Well, my parents gave us the apple trees when we moved here, and I don't think the fungus was considered, so it was luck, for sure!

Tom ~ You'll see the fungus in the spring mainly, especially after a rain. It's wild when it's full-blown!

THREE DOLLARS!!! And you didn't buy ten of them?? Wow. You must post a photo when it blooms!

Aiyana ~ It is nice to have the apples in the fall. My husband isn't all that good in the kitchen, but he makes the apple pies around here!

Brenda ~ Allergic to cedars! I don't know if I've ever heard of that! My husband is allergic to nearly everything, so it's possible he's allergic to cedars, too.

Blogger has been just horrible for me for over a week now. Between having problems with my ISP and Blogger, it's a miracle I can post anything. I have a post I've been trying to publish for several days now, but can't get the photos to upload for some reason. It's so frustrating! I'm falling behind with posting and reading. It's so sporadic when it works for me. It will probably take several tries to get these comments published!

Ben ~ I don't know if the cedars are considered to be invasive here, but you do see them quite often.

Melanie ~ Yeah, cedars are all over the place here, so it's inevitable that we have this. I don't know about cherry trees. Our neighbors have a row of them in their yard, but I've never heard them talk about any problems with them. They don't spray either.

Jodi ~ Yes, they are quirky usually, and I rather enjoy quirky. LOL. This fungus originates with the cedar trees, so maybe you don't have an abundance of cedars? 'Red Delicious' isn't my favorite variety of apples, although the ones from our trees are pretty tasty. From the grocery, my favorite is 'Gala' or 'Pink Lady.'

Ki said...

Have never seen cedar rust but it certainly looks yucky. I wanted to buy gooseberry bushes but was told there is a ban in NJ because it harbors white pine rust and would infect the trees. :( Must be a similar kind of relationship as the cedar/apple connection.

Connie said...

Wow...that is an intense blue on that cedar berry!

Bob said...

Huh, OBMB???

Randy said...

I'm so glad your apple trees are okay. It would be terrible to lose them to a nasty fungus.

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