I heard back from the Purdue Extension Office about that orange squidgy stuff on Mom’s cedar tree. Here’s what he said:

Good pictures!  Reference Quality.  The spore mass on your mother’s cedar tree is the infection phase of cedar-apple rust, a highly contagious disease of apples.  Apple growers have the responsibility to control it here in IN & KY.  Consequently, we don’t have lots of orchards here.  Spores from the blister mass on your mother’s trees can spread as far as five miles from the site even without a huge wind storm to carry them.  Several similar diseases are discussed in OSU bulletin that can be found at the Ohioline Publications website.  The Cornell bulletin is at the following site:

plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/cedarapplerust/cedarapplerust.htm ·

Several other sites on the subject can be found by entering “cedar-apple rust” in a computer search engine

The spore mass won’t harm your mother’s trees.  Please let me know if I can be of any further help to you.

So now we know.

MA

writing prompt: Writers, don’t forget that there are experts out there on just about any subject who are generous with their time and knowledge, willing to satisfy your curiosity and your research needs. If an internet search fails you, remember that the human brain is a valuable resource.

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