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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: Culleoka, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Juniper-apple rust galls
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have Red Cedar trees in my yard. I have just noticed something that looks like a reddish brown squid-like bloom about the size of a small orange. Is this normal or is it a fungus?

ANSWER:

This sounds like a gall caused by a fungus called cedar (or juniper) apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) that requires two hosts—the Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) and an apple or crabapple tree—to complete its lifecycle.  It doesn't really cause any substantial harm to the cedar tree but can affect the fruits of the apple or crabapple and also cause leaves to fall from the trees. You can read about more control measures for the cedar apple rust from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

 

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