Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A little rusty

We couldn't work in the garden at all over the weekend, because it rained so much Friday night and Saturday morning.


It rained hard - the creek is always muddy when that happens.

I'm not sure exactly how much it rained... our old rain gauge cracked, and Jasmine apparently thinks the new one is a chew toy. Some areas got 2 - 4 inches.

After it stopped pouring on Saturday we went for a walk to see if we could see any migrant birds. But I got a little distracted.



I had a feeling that it was cedar-apple rust, which I'd read about but never noticed.



The bizarro-alien-invader-looking things were only on cedars.



They were easy to spot since they were so bright orange.

These roundish ones were the oddest looking, but there were also little sleeves of orange gelatinous goo on twigs, and bunches of it in clusters like this:



Here's what that one looked like the next day after drying out:



Big difference!



The roundish ones looked slightly less creepy when dry.

I didn't get a shot of the sleeve-like parts when wet, but here is a dry one.



If I've read this chart of rust differences correctly, the roundish ones are cedar-apple rust, and the others are cedar-quince rust.

It's an interesting fungus - it has to go back and forth between hosts (cedars and apples) to survive. Which is why the old timey remedy, if you're trying to grow apples, is to just cut down all the cedars! Hmm.

The other remedy is spraying fungicides. But since we're not trying to grow apples, I don't think it's worth it. I had a sad thought for all the crabapples I just planted, but since all the animals roam in those areas I'd rather not be spraying anything.

22 comments:

Lacy said...

Those may be slightly more alien-looking than the weird catepillar thing from the end of last month!

doubleknot said...

Strange looking but will they hurt the cedars? I know you said spraying is out of the question but might there be a more natural cure?

Rexroth's Daughter said...

That is one strange looking fungus. We have cedars and apples here, so I'm definitely going to take a look to see if we have anything like that.

Gin said...

I think of these as "cedar brains" because, before they sprout, that’s just what the look like to me. If you gather them before they sprout, slice them about an 1/8” thick and dry them, they turn into gorgeous, deep orange, oddly shaped disks. I drill holes in these and dangle them from small baskets or paper pieces for their decorative effect. Sometimes it’s a challenge to turn ugliness into beauty, but this one is easy. :)

Sabine said...

You really should seriously think about calling Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones!

Mary said...

Nature can be so creepy and neat sometimes!

yllstonewolf said...

ok...now those are just plain nasty!!!

Ericka said...

gack! alien invaders! we're DOOMED!

erm. huh. fungus? interesting.

I Gallop On said...

You don't see any unusual looking footprints around your cedars, do you? Any of your pets missing??? If you see anything with 300 eyes staring back at you from the critter cam, well, I'm sure I can speak for a lot of people by saying that we really enjoyed your blog ... ;-)

Now you've got me curious and I'm going to have to go tromping out and looking at the branches of our trees.

LauraHinNJ said...

I get that too on my serviceberry tree - some of the leaves are covered with the rust and the berries have those thingies sticking out of them. Gross - but the birds are happy to eat the unaffected berries and that's what matters! I don't know who around here has the cedars, but the spores can probably travel pretty far on the wind. Really cool photos!

chiefbiscuit said...

I learn something every day on your blog!

Maktaaq said...

Sabine, you're funny.

Rurality, this is amazing-looking stuff. How weird. I agree with Cheifbiscuit about always learning something new here. :)

Rhodent said...

You always find the neatest things!

Sonia said...

What a strange looking fungus! Really it looks an ugly alien!
Anyway, great photos!

And thanks so much for your visiting on my place!

Rurality said...

Yeah bizarro, huh?! You think Will Smith would actually come? :) I don't think they damage the cedars much - it's the apples that get the worst of it. The natural cure is apparently copper, but it reportedly doesn't work so well.

Gin that is so cool! I'm going to try that next year.

Wayne said...

Last year close to this time I blogged on this fungus, Gymnosporangium.

As odd as mine were, they weren't nearly so alien-looking as yours.

Later in the summer the small hawthorne fruits that get infected put out the orange teliohorns, but again, yours are magnificent.

Floridacracker said...

I agree with Ericka,
"GAK!"

Rurality said...

Wayne, it looks like your tree had more of them than ours... we found several but usually only one per tree.

Hick said...

Ack...ack...ack...don't run...we are your friends.

Cool stuff, but it gives me the creeps.

C.S. said...

Glad to learn what these weird things are. One day last week I was at my sister's house, and we both noticed the same fungus in her cedars. I joked to her that the "alien pods" had landed in her cedars, and would soon hatch out to inhabit her body! :-) Now I can tell her exactly what those nasty things are.

Thank you also for your kind, caring comments on my blog regarding the loss of my husband. I'm coping, but some days are still worse than others.

TDharma said...

omg, its the pod people! It doesn't look much better all dried out...ick, and double ick.

Vermont Neighbor said...

This might be the most dramatic plant monster I've ever seen! But it's beautiful-grotesque... totally fascinating.