The Q&A Archives: Unusual Fungus

Question: I recently noticed an unusual looking growth on one of the trees. It is a well established tree
but I do not know what type it is - it has roundish leaves with teeth around the perimeter. This time of year, the tree also has lighter green things growing on it (not quite leaves, they are a long and narrow shape as compared to the leaves and don't have the teeth around the perimeter - i assumed they were seed casings of some sort), 50-60% of which have already fallen to the ground. I noticed reddish horn-like protrusions growing
from some of the leaves. Also some of the leaves have holes in them which I though was due to insect activity. My concern lies in the reddish horn like growths. Not all leaves have them, and usually there are many per leaf. The protrusions are roughly 1/2 cm in length. What could this be? Thanks!

Answer: The reddish bladder-like galls on the upper sides of the leaves are caused by a mite. The insects feed early in the spring and then move on, leaving no evidence until the leaves unfurl completely and the galls change from small green humps to tall red growths. The deformed leaves will remain on the tree until they fall off in the autumn. The mite is gone, so no spraying is necessary.

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