Apple Trees – Orange Specks on Leaves

Q: I have two apple trees in my yard that have recently developed orange specks on the leaves and started dropping young apples. 

A: I’m confident you are seeing the signs of cedar-apple rust. This disease typically doesn’t cause major damage but you should make an effort to limit it’s spread. Cedar-apple rust requires a nearby juniper plant to carry out its full life cycle. The common Eastern redcedar (CQ), Juniperus virginiana, is usually the second host of the disease. Look around your property and decide if you have any of these trees that can be removed. If they can’t be removed, watch for bright orange, gelatinous “blobs” on branch tips in April. These should definitely be removed before they dry out to resemble brown English walnuts on the branches. Rake and remove the leaves and fruit that drop from your trees. One online reference states that Red Delicious, Gala Supreme, McIntosh, and Liberty apple varieties are considered resistant to cedar apple rust, but Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, and York Imperial are highly susceptible.

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