The Q&A Archives: Spots on Apple Tree

Question: A few of my apple tree leaves have rust-colored spots on them. The lesions don't match the photos I looked at of cedar rust. They're not circular, they're not thick, and they don't have spots in the center. It's more like patches where the top leaf layer seems worn away. Many of the spots have actually become holes. What could this be?

Answer: What you describe sounds more like damage from insect feeding than from a disease. Leafhoppers and mites can feed on leaf surfaces and the damage to the leaf results in an off-color: usually a rust color. When feeding insects rasp or scrape away the upper surface of a leaf it can turn a rusty color. For a positive diagnosis, take a few of the affected leaves to your local cooperative extension office. (Johnston County Cooperative Extension, 2736 NC 210 Hwy, Smithfield, NC 27577). Staff there can diagnose the problem and suggest control remedies. Best wishes with your apple tree.

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