Orange Dust Being Spit Out By Trees Has Been Identified

Sep 15th, 2020

Since 2020 started, the year has had a couple of natural anomalies. One of these is the mysterious orange dust that is falling from pear trees in Ohio.

Last June, Ohio residents were baffled with the mysterious orange dust that coated the yards and sidewalks in town. Recently, experts and scientists were able to identify what the orange dust was and where did they come from. According to experts, the orange dust is fungus falling from the local pear trees.

The residents in Sharonville, outside Cincinnati, said that the Bradford pear trees have always been a stable of the town. But this year, they were baffled because of the unusual orange dust that is sprinkled in the ground near the trees.

Sharonville is very well known for its Callery pear trees. And for the first time in history, they noticed in 2020 that there is orange dust falling from the pear trees. Nobody knew what causes them and what they really are.

During an interview with WXIX-TV, a resident named Julie Dietrich said, “It’s just so thick… like orange Cheetos or like sidewalk chalk that somebody ground up and just kind of scattered but it’s under each individual tree so you can just kind of look down the street and see these little pops of orange all over the sidewalk.”

An assistant professor of horticulture at Ohio State University named Joe Boggs explained that the orange dust is the fungus falling from the fruit on the trees. He said that the fungus can possibly cause allergies in some residents. And those with no allergy problems might find the fungus staining their shoes.

He added, “We had the right environment. The spring was cool and wet, making it contagious [and] leading to a perfect storm for infection to occur. ”

The assistant professor also explained, “It’s a good thing we’re not plants. Plant diseases don’t typically affect people. In fact, I can’t even think of a single example so I wouldn’t worry about that but when you do watch the weather, you see the spore count.

” He added that the dust has recently been found in other Ohio locations as well that also have similar pear trees. During his interview with WCPO-TV, Boggs said, “The source of the orange patina appears to be Gymnosporangium clavipes; the cedar-quince rust fungus. ”

The Gymnosporangium clavipes is a plant pathogen. It is a fungus that causes cedar-quince rust. According to the Bugwood WIKI, the Gymnosporangium clavipes is an obligate parasite that will need a Juniperus sp. And rosaceous host in order to complete its lifecycle. Aerial hosts of the fungus include the following:

Apple (Malus sp.)

Chokeberry (Aronia sp.)

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles sp.)

Hawthorn/mayhaw (Crataegus sp.)

Mountain ash (Sorbus sp.)

Pear (Pyrus sp.)

Quince (Cydonia oblonga)

Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.)

Photinia, Mespilis

Cotoneaster

This fungus is native to North America but also occurs all throughout the continent in Canada and the United States. The fungus has not yet been reported to be found anywhere else in the world.

So how do you manage this fungus?

Management of any pathogens will always depend on cultural and chemical options. It is important that you consult your local extension specialist or an agent for recommendations that are relevant to your host and state.