08 April 2008

Aha

Recently, Kylee at Our Little Acre posted about cedar-apple rust, a disease that lives alternately on cedar trees and apples trees. The trees take turns re-infecting one another via airborne spores that look like rust. We have lots of cedar trees, and we also have lots of totally messed up apple trees. Hmm...

Even though the tree funk in Kylee's post didn't look like anything I had seen around here, I had sort of a lightbulb moment after I saw the pictures and did some more research. Turns out that cedar-apple rust can take various forms, all of which involve some kind of strange, orange growth on trees in the cedar family. One of those forms is that of a freaky alien brain.


Looks like we're growing our very own tree brain. The little spikes are rust spores, which swell up and float away from time to time, especially after a rain. The spores then attach themselves to nearby apple trees, unless you're lucky enough (as Kylee is) to have rust-immune Red Delicious trees. As far as a plan of attack, our options are either to:

  1. Cut down every cedar tree in at least a two-mile radius (will not happen)
  2. Remove and dispose of every tree brain we can find (might happen, at least a little)
The apple trees here always get a fairly large amount of rust on the fruit, though no one has ever done anything preventative in the past. It will be interesting to see if our attacking the tree brains this year has any effect on the apple crop. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

5 comments:

ourfriendben said...

Oh, geez, yes, those weird-looking things grew on our red cedars when I was a child, and, just like bagworms, I always found them fascinating. If you waited a while, you'd see that orange streamers would emerge from the "brains" (I always thought of them as livers, myself, because of the color and texture). But don't do that! Doubtless the streamers are laden with apple-attacking spores. But they sure looked cool! Thank God, my own red cedars here at Hawk's Haven are brainless--so far, anyway...

Robbyn said...

That tree brain looks bizarre, lol! Lesson learned...don't plant cedars near apples (if we could even get apples to grow here in Florida...or cedars for that matter, ha)

seeded said...

Those look so cool. I mean, yes, bad spores and all that, but so cool!

El said...

I've got cedars. I've got apple trees. And I have rust. *shrugs shoulders* I also live in the Fruit Belt and somehow this doesn't seem to be something people get too worked up about. Frankly, I think the spidery spore pods are pretty cool looking. So maybe don't worry?

Twinville said...

Freaky looking thing!! I had no idea the rust could take that shape. Eeew!