Monday, November 16, 2015

Citrus Canker found in South Texas

Citrus Canker Disease has been found in south Texas on October 16th, 2015, the first time since the 1940s. This disease can be devastating to health of the citrus crops, but also has significant implications on the trade and shipment of citrus out of Texas. This is bad news considering citrus producers, state and federal officials have already been working to eradication another exotic disease called Citrus Greening over the past few years.

Florida fought to eradicate citrus canker for almost 100 years before giving up in 2006 after the historic hurricane seasons of 2004 (by the way I lived through it). Texas had eradicated the disease nearly 70 years ago, but now faces another battle of keeping this disease quarantined.

Citrus Canker 1 mile plain.pdfLet's hope that Texas can learn valuable lessons from Florida, about what works and what doesn't work. Florida spent ~$1 billion and removed 16.5 million citrus trees over ten years trying to eradicate the disease, but later gave up on their eradication efforts. Quarantine and eradication is the best first step, but spending time and money on research to develop disease resistance and other control strategies is also a wise choice. Extension education programs are important to raise awareness and understanding of Citrus Canker and other exotic diseases.

For addition information visit the following links:

 Valley Morning Star - Citrus Canker News

Texas A&M AgriLife Today - Citrus Canker News

Citrus Canker Information from American Phytopathological Society 

Citrus Canker Information at Florida Dept of Agriculture

Written by Greg Church, Ph.D, Horticulture Agent - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension