Yes, another alien-looking creature continues our What-in-the-World Wednesday series. This one is inedible, hangs from nearby trees and attacks one of our favorite fruits.
Here’s another picture of it. These pod-like balls are about 2 inches in diameter. Both are the same creatures; the orange stringy one on the left is what they look like after they gets wet and all the little tentacles come out. EWWWW!!!! They ARE pretty slimy and gross looking.
Have you guessed it? Have you even seen or heard of such an oddball thing before?
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This is the Cedar-Apple-Rust gall. Sometimes its called just Cedar Rust. It’s a fungus that lives through the winter all closed up hanging from a cedar tree and then, with the Spring rains, orange tentacles expand out of these dry galls and release spores. The spores spend the next part of their life causing leaf spot and fruit spots on apple trees within a couple mile radius. It can also cause a massive fruit drop. This pesky fungus can be found wherever Eastern Cedar and apples live; it can affect all types of U.S. apple cultivars except the Delicious.
Our beautiful cedar trees started showing these strange orange blobs in 2010 and we were hoping that with minimal fungicides, we could spare our Granny Smith apples. Alas, it was not to be. We had a bumper crop full of nasty spots. This made the apples really susceptible to the wasps and yellow-jackets (Yes, wasps eat fruit.) I’m sad the cedar trees are about to be cut down, but I fear they may be hindering our neighbor’s fruit trees. They are beauties, but we put edible landscaping first at our house.
Out! Out! Damn Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae!