What Is This Orange Stuff on the Evergreen Tree?

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Fungal diseases can infect evergreen trees.
Fungal diseases can infect evergreen trees. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Various types of evergreen trees produce masses of orange growth. These trees suffer from a disease called fusiform gall rust. The fungal disease produces the orange growths in the spring.

Description

Fusiform gall rust consists of masses of orange, powdery spores on swollen areas of branches and the trunk. The fungus primarily attacks loblolly and slash pines. Other types of evergreen trees, such as longleaf and shortleaf pines, remain resistant to the fungus.

Damage

If you see the orange galls on the main trunk of your evergreens, the fungus will likely kill the tree. The tree takes a few years to die, as the fungus destroys more of the woody tissue of the trunk each year.

Control

No fungicides save mature trees infested with fusiform galls. If the tree only has galls on branches growing 8 to 12 inches from the trunk, prune those branches to stop the fungus from reaching the trunk. Removing the tree remains the best option if the galls form on the trunk.

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