What is wrong with my Bradford pear?

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 01:41 PM.

Housed inside of the New Hanover County Arboretum is a plant clinic run by master gardener volunteers open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic is open to the public and the volunteers assist with residential landscape problems. As you can imagine, similar problems show up in the clinic on a daily basis. Here are some of the ones we’re seeing now: 

Cedar-quince rust

A few months ago we started to see a great deal of Eastern red cedar (Juniper) samples coming into the clinic experiencing rust galls that resemble an orange goop coming out of the stem of the cedar. Unfortunately, at this stage there is not a whole lot that can be done to manage the disease. During warm rainy spells gelatinous horn-like protrusions emerge from the gall. These fruiting bodies produced on the Juniper spread by wind and infect the alternating host — in this case a Bradford pear resulting in spots on fruit and twigs and less often on leaves.  Later in the season fruit may be covered in orange-reddish spore horns, which will release spores to re-infect the junipers. 

These reproductive structures can produce for several years and overwinter in gall tissues.  Infected twigs often die.


Remove and destroy galls on cedar. This task is more difficult because of the less obvious shape and appearance of the gall.  Often times when we observe the symptoms it is too late for control.

 Remove the host to break the disease cycle. This strategy may not always work due to the ability of the spore to be spread over long distances. It is not recommended to plant junipers adjacent to rosaceous host. Fungal infections sometimes occur when junipers and members of the rose family such as apple, hawthorn and quince are grown in close proximity. 

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