Galling problems

Here at Henbogle, we’ve run into problems with some of our conifers. Two junipers in the back yard are alternate hosts for one of 2 fungi, the cedar apple rust gall, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, a fungus that attacks apples and crab apples, causing leaf loss and often fruit damage or loss, or Cedar hawthorn rust, Gymnosporangium globosum. The fungus must live alternately on the host juniper, then move to the hawthorn or apple tree to reproduce, then return to the juniper, and so on.

Unlike El at Fast Grow the Weeds, we luckily found the juniper galls before they had swollen from rains to burst open. They looked somewhat like nuts or brown berries. After the spring rains, they swell and burst, as seen in the photo on the right, dispersing their spores. Since the junipers were planted very near two old flowering crabs, and a hawthorn tree, and about 100 feet from our recently pruned flowering crab, we opted to get rid of the junipers in favor of beautiful flowers and good wildlife habitat trees. After school one day last week, Dan cut every branch off the junipers and bagged them for removal to the incinerator. (Thanks to the Ohio State University Extension service for the photo and information.) We’ll dig the remains of the junipers out once the more time sensitive gardening is complete.

Sunday, we removed a witches broom from our gorgeous old spruce tree in the front yard. The broom infection is really troublesome. It is probably caused by a parasitic plant, the spruce dwarf mistletoe, and it is generally untreatable. We cut the affected branch with the broom off, and that will also go for incineration. Our neighbors had a spruce with a large broom, which eventually was so large that they removed the whole tree in fear that it would cause the tree to come down on their house. I can only hope that if we are able to reach and remove any brooms we see forming, that the loss of the tree is a slow, protracted process.

The tree provides a lot of privacy and , more importantly, hides the streetlight I despise which is on the Eastern corner of our lot next to the other neighbors’ driveway. Years ago, the electric utilities sold us all on the notion that streetlights are necessary for safety, which I personally believe is hogwash –but I digress. With luck and the best care we can give it, this tree will survive for many more years, until I can afford to pay the cost of relocating the streetlight should the tree need to come down.

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3 Responses to “Galling problems”

  1. El Says:

    Spooky mistletoe thingy! I think parasitism in plants is rather fascinating, but then again you know I think the cedar rust galls are also fascinating. Fungi as a kingdom is nearly incomprehensible to my small brain, frankly. I would love to be able to torch all these problematic plants on my property but…I am frankly so outnumbered it is just going to have to be a survival of the fittest kind of thing. Some of the new apples we bought are rust-resistant by mere luck.

    Anyway, that’s a long way of saying much of the good care of anybody’s little corner of the world is simply a matter of paying attention. Kudos to the two of you for doing just that. Off with their heads!

  2. Jean Says:

    You two are great! I was never quit sure why our pines had such funny looking branches and now I know why! and what they are called! Just love you two

  3. Twinville2 Says:

    You are such a busy and thorough gardener. You remind me of my grandmother who loved to spend all day puttering in her veggie, berry and flower gardens. And I loved eting all the delicious produce and seeing the pretty flowers, too.

    I was laughing a little at the irony of you cutting down your junipers, because besides a few pinon trees and our fruit trees, junipers are the only tree that grows wild and prolific here in the mountains of New Mexico. We probably have over 30 junipers on our 3 acre property and we truly love the privacy and wind break they provide, as well as the way they make the air smell when it rains.
    And our llamas and goats love the berries that show up every fall.
    I pray that we don’t get any fungus infections on any of our junipers, or we’d have no trees at all!

    And I agree about the street lights, too. One reason we chose to move out of the suburbs and into the country…no street lights at all. And all of our neighbors appreciate our gorgeous dark, star-filled night skies, too. So our neighborhood is pitchlat night. We love it!

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