Cedar-Apple Rust

Caused by a fungus, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, cedar-apple rust started appearing on my apple trees a few months ago. I had searched for homemade remedies (e.g., one was made with a solution of water and aspirin, another was made with a solution of water infused with juices of chopped garlic, baking soda, and dish soap) and tried them for a few weeks, but more leaves became infected. These treatments proved ineffective in my case. The leaves may start with rust along the their edges, a sign of infection, and spread throughout the leaves. The leaves must be removed.IMG_3114

The fungus originates in juniper and eastern red cedar trees and the fungal spores can travel for miles, so even if you do not notice these types of trees in your immediate area, the culprit trees may not be obvious, In my case, my two new apple trees were from a nursery that was adjacent to a large city park, which has juniper trees. This fungus also attacks crab apple trees.

You may buy rust-resistant varieties of apples, but if you already have established apple trees and they become infected, the next step is treatment and prevention. I went to my neighborhood nursery and was told to spray my trees with fungicide twice a month until I no longer saw any more evidence of rust. Left untreated, the fruit becomes infected and damaged also, leading to loss of your crop.

None of my trees are in fruit right now. All leaves of my two new trees were infected so I removed all of them and sprayed the fungicide on all branches and trunks. My 3-in-1 apple tree still has leaves, so I sprayed the upper side and lower side of the leaves as well as the branches and trunk.

More information about cedar-apple rust can be found here:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/rusts/cedar-apple-rust.aspx

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE:  Apple seeds are highly toxic if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

CAUTION: Commercially available fungicides have varying degrees of toxicity, so use care when applying them to your plants and trees, and spraying when them only when they are dormant, that is, when they are not in fruit.

Do Not spray fungicide on fruit and Do Not eat fruit that you suspect may have been sprayed with fungicide – they are poisonous and may be hazardous to your health if consumed.

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