What causes the yellow leaf spots that later develop a brown center on my apple leaves?

Gardens & Landscapes, Apples August 28, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

This a fungal disease called cedar-apple rust. Cedar-apple rust is a common disease of apple and crabapple. The fungus that causes the disease, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, is unusual because it must spend a phase of its life cycle as a parasite on Juniperus species, such as red cedar or ornamental junipers. Control: Grow resistant apple or crabapple varieties. Apple varieties that normally show good to excellent resistance to cedar-apple rust include 'Red Delicious', 'McIntosh', 'Arkansas Black', 'Winesap', 'Mollies Delicious', 'Spartan', 'Priscilla', 'Liberty', and 'Empire'. Varieties that are usually highly susceptible include 'Prima', 'Sir Prize', 'Lodi', 'Jonathan', 'Rome', 'Golden Delicious', and 'Jonafree'. Destroy nearby wild, abandoned, or worthless apples, crabapples, cedars, and junipers. Although apples may receive a few spores produced on cedars several miles away, most spores come from cedars within a few hundred feet from the apple trees. Follow a recommended fungicide spray schedule, beginning at the pink-bud stage of growth and continuing every 10 to 14 days through the first or second cover spray. The cedar-apple rust fungi have usually exhausted their spores by this time. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for fungicide recommendations.

Connect with us

  • Facebook


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org



Apple Rootstocks

  • All about understanding and choosing the right rootstock

Apple Cultivars

  • Characteristics, descriptions, and how to choose the best to grow and eat

Establishing an Apple Orchard

  • Buying and planting trees

Managing Apple Trees and Orchards

  • Insects, diseases, wildlife and other challenges

Propagating Apple Rootstocks and Trees

  • Grafting, budding, tissue culture, and all about how rootstocks are developed

Regional Resources

  • Links to apple information specific to your area


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.