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Varieties resistant to cedar apple rust

Cedar apple rustCedar apple rust has struck again.  This winter, we cut down dozens of nearby Red Cedars, but we only girdled the ones that were too close to the electric line for easy felling.  The girdled trees are taking their own sweet time to die, so they were able to transmit the fungus to our fruit trees yet again.

These orange spots are a sure sign that our trees are infected.  This means another year of malingering, although I hope by next year we will have wiped out the closest Red Cedars and our apple trees will finally take off.

To be fair, not all of our apple trees are malingering.  I've noticed quite a range of sensitivies, from the Winter Banana and Stayman Winesap, which would just as soon not do anything as long as the rust is in the air, to our Virginia Beauty and Early Transparent, which are growing quite happily with just a few small spots speckling their leaves.

If cutting the nearest cedars doesn't bring relief to our apples, I'm not going to have Mark fell all of the cedars on our property --- there are just too many.  Instead, I'll take a permaculture approach and replace our susceptible trees with resistant ones.  For example, old fashioned Winesaps are resistant to cedar apple rust, while Stayman Winesaps are not.  The best list of resistant species I've run across is in this pdf file from the Arkansas Extension Service, unique in that it includes heirloom species as well as those specifically bred to be disease resistant.  In our neck of the woods, where Red Cedars are a very common early successional tree, it probably would have made sense to only plant resistant varieties in the first place.

Our homemade chicken waterers never spill or fill will poop.


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Wonderful blog! Thank you for taking the time to write down your experiences, and to share them with all of us.

I have also noticed Cedar Apple Rust on our very young apple trees. While studying forest gardening, I came across a passage in Martin Crawford's book, "Creating a Forest Garden", that suggests highly aromatic plants will give off a scent having antifungal properties. He personally uses apple mint to accomplish this, but suggests that any mint would do as well as many other herbs. He claims to have no problems with fungal infections as a result.

This year, I have planted mint underneath each of our apple trees in an attempt to see how well it works. Let's see, $4/mint vs $30 and several years for new trees ... I think the mint is at least worth a try to see if it helps.

Since planting, it may have halted the spread of the rust, or the rust may have just gone out of season. I don't know. I'll need to wait 'til next year to see if it works.

Comment by Dan Tue Sep 27 22:16:33 2011
It's interesting that you should mention that because I had mint take over the area under one of my apple trees this year. (I had planted the mint nearby and failed to notice when the mint crept up under the canopy and had a ball.) I have to say that the tree is actually one of my worse looking apple trees, probably because of competing with the mint for nutrients. It didn't seem to do any better or worse with cedar apple rust than it had in previous years. So I'd say that spearmint, at least, isn't effective in that manner.
Comment by anna Wed Sep 28 08:40:25 2011