Don’t Worry, That Orange Stuff on Maine Trees Isn’t a Gate to the ‘Upside Down’
Maine weather has been all over the place lately
The weather in Maine definitely hasn't been close to constant since the beginning of spring, ranging anywhere from what feels like a cold, raw morning in fall to a summer scorcher. Which is partially why, in some areas in Maine and even scattered throughout other parts of Northern New England, we're seeing what looks like some kind of alien growth, or something comparable to a gate to the Upside Down in the Netflix show 'Stranger Things.'
Neither of those comparisons are correct, though, because it's simply just a case of cedar-apple rust.
What is cedar-apple rust?
Even though it looks a bit disgusting, alien-like, or even a bit like long, thin orange peppers, cedar apple rust is actually quite common in trees. According to the U.S. Forest Service, cedar-apple rust is mainly found in eastern North America and usually follows a warm spring rain anywhere from April to May.
Granted, we're in June now, but the spring weather has been so delayed that it's almost as if the universe is playing a game of catch-up, which is why some areas are still seeing cedar-apple rust forming on trees.
What causes cedar-apple rust?
According to the University of Maine, cedar-apple rust generally happens when an apple tree grows too close to an Eastern red cedar. At that point, both sets of trees tend to capture the disease and spread it amongst each other. For what it's worth, too, according to UMaine, golden delicious apple trees are the most susceptible to being infected.
How to get rid of cedar-apple rust
Ditching cedar-apple rust is equal parts as easy as you'd think, but also a bit involved. Because, according to UMaine, there are three different types of cedar-apple rust depending on exactly which types of trees are serving as host. But odds are the best way to get rid of a case of cedar-apple rust on trees in your yard (because if they're not on your property, who cares?) is to just cut it out.
Is cedar-apple rust harmful?
If you decide to take the path of physically removing cedar-apple rust, according to Oklahoma State University, it's not known to be extremely harmful, so there won't be any side effects of removing it. However, considering it looks completely gross/disgusting, you may want to ease your mind and toss on some gardening gloves just to play it safe.
But just remember, as much as it looks like would be harmful, OSU assures that it's not. And it's definitely not channeling 'Stranger Things' and trying to drag you into the Upside Down.