Crabapple and Rust - Knowledgebase Question

Shelburne, VT
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Question by deb511
July 26, 1999
I have a young Floribunda crab that I planted 4 years ago. It has been healthy and growing fast. The other day I was weeding around the trunk and discovered two areas where little streams of dry orange matter seemed to be exuding from the trunk down near the ground. I cleaned off the orange, rusty stuff, but noticed it again a week or so later.

I had rust in a small juniper tree about 200 yards away (which I destroyed - the tree that is) and I may well have rust on the 20 or more wild apple trees I have on my property. If so, it doesn't seem like a big problem (sometimes I see little orange spots, but the trees seem healthy). Is what I'm seeing on the crabapple a result of rust? I've been told by others that most apple trees with rust live long healthy lives without intervention. Should I worry about my little crab, which is my pride and joy? And if so, should I be doing something about it?

Deb Howard

(Charlie - if this is you - hi there!)

Answer from NGA
July 26, 1999
Rust affects the foliage, so what you are describing on your crabapple tree is something other than rust. You might look carefully and see if there is a point of entry caused by a borer or other evidence of damage to the bark.

Rust uses juniper as an alternate host, so removing the hjuniper was probably a good idea. However, some crabapple varieties are more disease resistant than others so you may wish to consider preventive spraying. Consult with your local County Extension to determine the best spray regime (and timing) for your local area. They should also be able to help diagnose the trunk problem and suggest any possible remedies for that as well.

In the meantime, it is important to help the tree stay healthy by ensuring it has adequate water and fertility.

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