Fusiform Rust: What You Need To Know

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Fusiform Rust: What You Need To Know

fusiform rust

Planting a new stand of trees can be an anxiety-ridden experience, even without diseases like Fusiform Rust to contend with

After all, these are plants which grow slowly and take a lot of time and effort to raise. Predators, poisons, bad weather and accidents can all take your plant down, later on in its life. It’s important, then, to get off on the right foot in the beginning.

Join us, today, as we put one of the worst tree diseases in the southern US under the microscope, and show you how to treat, identify, and protect against it.

fusiform rust

What Is Fusiform Rust?

Fusiform Rust is a loblolly and slash pine disease. It’s actually one of the biggest ones there is, widespread across the southeast United States, and particularly in the state of Florida.

Considered the most serious pine disease in the country, it destroys several million dollars worth of timber, yearly.
 
The condition actually rose to prominence within the last 60 years from relative obscurity. It is now considered damaging enough to be classified as an epidemic.

Grown trees develop cankers and various weaknesses, including rust galls and weakened stems. Diseased wood and bark can catch fire, and are more difficult than usual to put out, affecting the wood’s quality and viability for processing.

The disease also affects seedlings, both in forests and ornamental nurseries. Fusiform leaves young trees useless, killing them off within two-to-three years of their out planting. In the rare cases where these seedlings survive, they tend to be malformed and weak, breaking off at the point of infection at some stage in the future.

It’s not hard to see, with thousands of dollars worth of damages attributed to this disease alone every year, why it’s considered such a serious sickness.

How To Identify It

A fusiform rust infection presents by way of a definitive swelling in the branches and stems of your tree. These are known as “galls” and will be the source of all your sorrow if your tree develops fusiform rust.

These galls can be spindle, depressed, or canker-like, and are easy to spot. Large, knobbled blisters that are yellow or orange in color and show up in patches. These may burst or rupture, and expose powdery spores. Branches also break at these cankers, or may simply die off past the point where these develop.

How To Manage It

In spite of its deadly severity, Fusiform Rust is relatively simple to treat and keep under control.

Seedling nurseries are treated with applications of fungicides, designed for this disease. With the widespread devastation it causes, it makes sense that treatment would be developed to this point. If you are planting oaks, loblolly pine, or any other pine in Florida, you’ll want to use these treatments.

Specific strains of pines also resist the condition, and are recommended for commercial forestry. Then, counterintuitive though it might seem, you’ll want to avoid over-preparing the soil or site. Overuse of fertilizer, for instance, can encourage too much growth in the tree itself, which, in turn, encourages the spread of the disease.

Instead, delay fertilizing young pine stands in high hazard areas until they have grown beyond around eight years of age. This is known as the age of highest susceptibility, and plants past this age are safer from disease.

In cases where huge numbers of crops are affected, salvage thinnings and complete harvests are advised. Destroy severely infected plants. Then reestablish your stands with less susceptible species, or using hardier materials or methods.

Above all, avoid out planting stock that has been infected, to stop the Fusiform from spreading.

The More You Know

Interested in learning more about fusiform management, and other tree maintenance services? Get in touch with us, today, and discover expert tree service to bring out the best in your plants.

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