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Mt. Home, Ark. –
For those who are not familiar with cedar-apple rust, you can see it on apple tree
leaves in the spring and summer. Small, pale yellow-orange spots develop on the upper
leaf surface shortly after bloom. These spots enlarge and turn orange (rust).
The chief damage by this disease occurs on apple trees, causing early
leaf drop and poor quality fruit. This can be a significant problem to commercial
apple growers but also harms the appearance of ornamental crabapples in the home landscape.
On apple, symptoms first appear as small green-yellow leaf or fruit spots that gradually
enlarge to become a yellow-orange color. On the upper leaf surface of these spots,
the fungus produces specialized fruiting bodies called spermagonia. On the lower leaf
surface (and sometimes on fruit), raised hair-like fruiting bodies called aecia appear
as microscopic cup-shaped structures. Wet, rainy weather conditions favor severe infection
of the apple. The fungus forms large galls on cedar trees in the spring, but these
structures do not greatly harm native redcedar and ornamental cedar, although some
twig dieback may occur.
The life cycle is complex and involves two plants (apple and cedar) and
their fruiting structures (telia, aecia and pycnia). The pathogen requires two years
to complete its life cycle. The fungus overwinters in reddish-brown galls on the cedar
tree. In the wet spring, the galls extrude gelatinous tendrils consisting of two-celled
teliospores. Air currents carry the teliospores to the apple tree where they infect
within four hours under favorable conditions. In July and August, windborne aeciospores
from apple infect cedar leaves. Rust lesions develop in one to three weeks. The galls
mature the second year after infection.
Resistant varieties of apple and crabapple are the best method of control.
Because it is impractical to keep enough distance between native cedar trees and cultivated
apples or crabapples in the state, fungicides can be used to protect apples against
infection. Several fungicides are highly effective against rust diseases. Fungicides
should be applied just before blossoms open and for the next six weeks to protect
the emerging leaves and developing fruit. Fungicides such as myclobutanil, Bacillus
subtilis, ziram, penthiopyrad, kresoxin-methyl, Pristine, Adament, triflumizole, and
trifloxystrobin will control rust; Captan will not do as good a job. Be sure to read
and follow label directions.
For more information on spraying fruit trees, contact the University of
Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension office at 425-2335
By Mark Keaton County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division f Agriculture
Media Contact: Mark Keaton County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible
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or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity