Citrus Canker

...Is Everyone in the Community's Responsibility to Reduce the Risk of Further Spread (Part 2)

Last week we discussed the fact that citrus canker is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis pathovar citri. An infection can destroy entire crops, but the disease poses no health risk to humans or animals. Severe infection may produce a variety of effects, including defoliation, dieback, severely blemished fruit, reduced fruit quality, and premature fruit drop.

Citrus canker is one of the most destructive bacterial diseases impacting citrus. There is no known chemical compound that will destroy the bacteria within the plant tissue. In order to eradicate the disease, infected and exposed trees must be cut down and disposed of.

The following is a list of the most important quarantine zone rules for Florida residents.

  • Citrus trees cannot be planted until eradication is declared and the quarantine Zone is removed. Eradication is declared after the CCEP (Citrus Canker Eradication Program) conducts two years of inspections without finding citrus canker.
  • Citrus trees may not be sold within a quarantine zone.
  • Potted citrus is not allowed in quarantine zone. Potted citrus trees are considered mobile and therefore prohibited. Once found, the CCEP must remove and dispose pf the potted citrus tree.
  • Citrus material (trees, fruit, rootstock, leaves, potted citrus plants, etc.) cannot be moved. This includes giving citrus fruit to neighbors, shipping fruit, moving citrus trees, or engaging in any other type of movement of citrus material. Some exceptions may be made for shipping to non - citrus bearing states. For more information call the Citrus Canker Statewide Toll - Freed Helpline 800-282 - 5153.
  • Organizations that come in contact with citrus trees as a normal part of daily duties, such as lawn maintenance companies, must be in compliance with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ decontamination requirements. Once a compliance agreement has been signed, companies will display a canker program compliance decal on the bottom of the driver’s side windshield.
  • Citrus tree clippings and/or fruit remains (e.g., peels, seeds, etc.) must be double-bagged in plastic for disposal with regular household garbage, NOT yard trash.
  • It is imperative that everyone complies with these rules so that out state enjoys a vibrant economy and we have healthy citrus to eat in the future.

Areas where trees have been destroyed must be kept free of citrus sprouts and seedlings. Movement of citrus fruit budwood and other plant parts is prohibited from property on or adjacent to sites where infected plants are located. All clothes, tools and equipment used in infested areas must be properly disinfected.

Sometimes symptoms are unclear or confusing, especially if more than one disease is present. If unsure contact your local CCEP office.

For Highlands, Hardee, Okeechobee and Glades Counties:
3397 US HWY 27 South
Avon Park, Florida 33825
Phone: 863- 314 - 5900

Do not take the plant into the office.