Should I remove a new serviceberry tree with rust?

Asked September 12, 2018, 8:30 PM EDT

We planted a serviceberry tree in our front yard in the spring of 2017. The tree has suffered from rust both years since it was planted (with all of the fruit and most of the leaves covered in orange goo and then dropping off each summer). My question: Should we remove the tree now (while it is still relatively small and easy to remove) and replace it with a different type of tree? Though the rust makes the tree somewhat less aesthetically pleasing, it isn't necessarily harming its overall health to the point where the tree is going to die. But I am worried that keeping the tree allows the rust to spread back to other nearby cedar trees, thus perpetuating the problem in the neighborhood.

Multnomah County Oregon forestry urban forestry

1 Response

Retaining serviceberry trees with the rust fungus can be a persistent threat to your cedars and others in the neighborhood, depending on the species of cedar. It is only incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) that is susceptible to the rust so it is important to confirm your tree species identification. Aggressive control of the rust with cultural and chemical treatments could reduce the threat if you decide to keep the serviceberry.

For more information on the rust disease on cedar and serviceberry, see