Why are all the gardens suffering from rust this year?

4 min read

Orange spots began to appear on the leaves of pears, and your favorite juniper suddenly became covered with jelly-like growths? Most likely, rust has settled on your site. This year, the insidious disease is behaving more aggressively than ever. What was the reason for this?

Rust is not a very common disease, but it is still quite well-known among gardeners. Nevertheless, the situation that has developed with the prevalence of this disease in recent months cannot be called ordinary. The unusually active spread of rust fungi has already attracted the attention of many gardeners. How did we come to such a life, and most importantly, what to do with it all?

What is plant rust

Before answering the question why this year rust has become a real headache for a fairly large number of homeowners, it is worth getting to know this disease better.

The causative agents of the disease are rust fungi, which go through several stages of the life cycle. Moreover, some of them in the process of transition from one phase of development to another have time to change the owner. So, for example, a fungus living on a juniper at some point moves to an apple tree or a pear, and its relative, which lives on a pine tree, “moves” to a currant. It is especially unpleasant that a rust fungus found on at least one of the plants endangers the entire garden. Most often, apple and pear trees growing next to coniferous trees become the victims of the disease. However, other horticultural crops, such as currants, gooseberries or strawberries, do not bypass the trouble.

Rusty pear leaves

Once on the juniper, the fungus rapidly spreads through the cones and shoots of the plant, eventually forming a mycelium in them. For some time, the disease has been almost asymptomatic, only occasionally “noting” a couple of bright rusty smears on the needles. At some point, swellings begin to appear on the branches of the plant, which eventually degenerate into gelatinous growths. It is they who produce spores that are transferred to other plants. Once on the next host, the fungus enters the next phase of its development.

Rusted juniper trunk

The fact that a pear or apple tree has become the next victim of a rust fungus is indicated by yellow-orange spots that appear on the leaves of a plant after it blooms. Over time, the spots spread to the petioles, and in very advanced cases, to shoots and even fruits. By autumn, “horns” appear on the back of the leaves in place of orange spots – spindle-shaped outgrowths that are filled with a mass of fungal spores. Breaking away from the leaves during the wind, they again fall on the juniper, on which they will spend the whole winter. The cycle of development of the fungus has ended, but only in order to start again in the spring.

Why did rust begin to spread this year?

Spring has been unusually cold this year, so the unpredictability of the weather in recent months has made many homeowners nervous. Is it time to remove the shelter from the conifers or is it still worth the wait? But what if the plants “suck out”? Or freeze? Should I start pruning or is it better not to risk it?

Untimely removal of shelters and violation of the timing of pruning, combined with high humidity and sufficiently high air temperature (10 ° C is enough for the development of the fungus), significantly increase the likelihood of plant infection with a pathogen.

And if we add to this the simply phenomenal ability of the fungus to be carried over distances of up to 50 km, then at the end we will get a very, very disappointing forecast – this year rust can become a serious problem for many gardeners. It will be especially difficult for the owners of plots on which conifers grow in large quantities.

Rust on juniper

The main danger that this disease carries in itself is that rust-affected leaves lose their ability to photosynthesis, and the plant begins to lose the necessary nutrients. If the disease is not stopped, it will spread to all above-ground organs of the plant and negatively affect its immunity and winter hardiness, which can ultimately lead to death. Not to mention that a tree or shrub affected by rust will become a source of infection for other crops.

How to get rid of rust on the site

Measures to prevent the appearance of rust and other fungal diseases should be considered at the planning stage of the future garden. Sometimes, in an attempt to recreate their own idea of an ideal garden, people forget about the phylogenetic specialization of fungi, i.e. their adaptability to nutrition only on plants that belong to a particular family, genus or species. Some fungi are able to develop on several types of trees at once, others have a narrower specialization and infect representatives of one or more families.

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The fungi that cause rust are just the type of pathogens that are found only on certain crops. Moreover, each of the stages of development of such organisms must pass on a plant of a certain species. If the fungus does not change its host at the right time, then the pathogen development cycle will be interrupted, and the fungus will not be able to survive. That is why it is very important to select plants for the site and plant them so that they do not become a breeding ground for diseases and pests for the entire garden. So, for example, you should not plant fruit crops in the immediate vicinity of conifers, especially junipers . For more information about the compatibility of plants in the garden, read the article:

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If your site is located near a coniferous forest, then you can isolate yourself from it with the help of protective strips of tall trees with a dense crown. An important role in the prevention of rust is also played by strict adherence to agricultural technology, since improper care of plants makes them vulnerable to all kinds of diseases and pests . Of course, do not forget about regular cleaning and disposal of plant residues .

How to treat rust

Timely removal and burning of damaged parts of the plant can only help if you were able to do this in the early stages of the manifestation of the disease. Unfortunately, garden rust treatment is almost impossible without the use of special tools, for example, drugs such as Input, Falcon or Soligor. However, all these fungicides are prohibited for use in personal household plots. During the growing season, use Rakurs (2-5 liters of solution, depending on the age of the tree and the volume of the crown).

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When processing fruit crops, one should not forget about conifers. In the spring, be sure to inspect the plants for the first signs of rust and remove branches and needles affected by it as soon as possible, and then burn them.

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