Rust on Fruit Trees

What Kind Of Apples Grow On Trees?… All Of Them!

It was a chilly day at the market this Saturday but many people came out to shop nonetheless.  This coming Saturday will be the last market of the year and although the early morning will be cool, several weather channels predict a sunny warm day for the entire weekend which of course is the Thanks Giving weekend.  

Several people mentioned the fact that their fruit trees did not provide there usual bounty of fruit this year and it was also mentioned that their trees are suffering from rust issues.  Heat such as we experienced this summer can affect fruit trees, mulching the root area and deep, consistent watering can help.  Shading the trees can also help but this may be difficult depending on the size and location of your trees.  With the heat and humidity that we experienced this summer, Rust on the leaves of many types of trees was an issue and there are a few things that can be done to prevent and recuperate from the problem. 

Definitely remove the leaves that become infected and apply a fungicide as soon as you can see any symptoms.  Copper sulphide is an organic metal based fungicide that can be used as is Neem Oil.  The advantages to Neem oil is that is will also kill small insects that can harm your tree while it is safe for bees, birds, fish and humans.  Copper Sulphate should not be sprayed while bees are abundant during the day and both should not be sprayed during the heat of the day.  Copper sulphate, if used a lot, may build up in the soil and become toxic as it does not break down where as Neem oil does breakdown and actually fertilizes as it is Bio degradable.  Copper Sulphate should be used more as a preventative whereas Neem Oil will actually resolve the the fungal issue that causes Rust.  With both the directions should be followed exactly.

Rust is caused by spores that are released from several other trees and hedges and usually for our area that is Cedar trees and hedges both Cedar and Juniper, the spores overwinter on them and in spring the Galls that have formed grow and release the spores that settle on the fruit trees from which Rust can develop, this is especially evident in hot, humid, weather.  

Pruning will also help with the problem as it opens up the tree allowing air to circulate properly. Pruning can be done mid winter and early spring or  in the summer.  Mid winter and early spring pruning will cause your tree to grow vigorously as the tree has less limbs to support it will cause greater energy to be spent in the remaining limbs.  Summer pruning will slow the growth of your tree as some of its energy has been spent on leaves and blossoms.  Autumn pruning should not be considered as each cut leaves an open wound which may not develop protective healing cells and therefore may cause severe limb damage over the winter.  I hope this helps!

Happy Gardening

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 •