Cedar Apple Rust in the West

May 17, 2010

I am a paying member of the Home Orchard Society, in which I get a quarterly newsletter. I recently got one the other day in the mail, and it had an article submitted by Harry Burton in Salt Spring Island, BC is about Cedar Apple Rust.

As I understand it, is a fungus that winters on cedar trees, and then transfers to apple trees, infecting the leaves and fruit. I have been very careful trying to pick out apple trees that would be immune to this, as I am planning on planting the apple trees where cedar trees used to be. Also, there are a lot of cedar trees in this climate to expose my apple trees to, which kind of makes it puzzling that this state successfully grows so many apples with so many cedar trees around.

Burton talks about how he has cedar and apple trees living next to each other, and he has absolutely no problems with cedar apple rust. He admits he has some problems with canker and bitter pit, but never any problems with cedar apple rust that he knows of. This makes me less worried.

At the end of the article, there is a small editor’s note saying, “Cedar apple rust is rare west of the Rockies. We do not have the alternate hosts unless some careless landscaper planted one.” In fact, the cedar they are referring to in “cedar apple rust” is the Eastern red cedar or the Rocky Mountain juniper, which is why it is rarely seen here.

I guess I’ll quit worrying about cedar apple rust when picking out apple trees, along with fire blight, as we don’t have long hot summers to make that an issue.

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