Cedar Apple Rust
Good Morning. We just started renting a home on a large property. In the front yard there are 2 large cedar trees with cedar apple rust. There are several apple trees on the property, and all seem to be infected (some severely). I don’t know whether the cedars AND the apples need to be cut down, or just one or the other. I don’t know if we cut the cedars down, whether the apples can recover. Or vice versa. I’m trying to get as much information as possible before saying anything to the homeowner. Thanks so much for any feedback!
Anne Arundel County Maryland
Cedar apple rust disease alternates between apple and cedars. The problem of cedar apple rust will be impossible to eradicate completely when you have the two alternate fungal hosts in close proximity. A distance of 1 to 2 miles between the two hosts greatly reduces infection, but that's not practical for many home gardens. There may be other cedars in the area.
You can handpick and destroy the cedar galls to help reduce the problem to some extent. This has to be done in the early spring. This fungal disease will also be worse in some years that we have very wet weather at crucial times in spring.
See cedar apple rust on ornamentals. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/rust-diseases-trees-and-shrubs
You can spray the apples for rust not the cedars. See cedar apple rust on apples and a spray schedule from VA Tech. It is too late to spray for rust on the apples this season. The best recommendation for the apples is to select disease resistant varieties.
Thank you for your reply and information. If I just have to remove one or the other, I’d lean toward cutting down all the apple trees, since they are all very old and this is now a rental property (it’s been many years since it was a producing farm). The cedars are about 60’ tall so it would be hard for us to keep up with gall removal, and there are many other plants/shrubs that seem to be benefitting from the cedars’ shelter/shade.
You don't have to remove either. The apples will not produce perfect fruit, but it will still have spring flowers for beauty and pollinators and fruit and cover for wildlife, similar to what the cedars are offering in your yard.
Thank you so much for that information! It never occurred to me to leave it all alone!