Bacterial Canker Disease of Citrus

Julian W. Sauls, Ph. D.
Texas Cooperative Extension

Bacterial canker disease of citrus is also known as "Asian citrus canker" or simply as "citrus canker". This disease has been in Florida for a number of years, but is not known to be present in Texas. After destroying millions of infected and surrounding, exposed, citrus trees, Federal and state agencies in Florida have given up efforts to eradicate citrus canker after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 spread the disease to so many groves and trees that the cure would have destroyed the industry. Now, the Florida industry is trying to develop means by which they can live with the disease.

The disease is caused by a bacterium, Xanthomonas spp, which is easily spread by wind and rain. It does not kill the tree, but it does render the fruit unmarketable and unusable. All varieties and types of citrus are affected.

The best option for citrus trees in Texas homes and orchards is to prevent the introduction of citrus canker-infected fruit, leaves, twigs, trees et cetera into the state. Even with existing quarantines and increased enforcement of the laws against the importation of citrus materials into Texas, there is always the chance that the disease will be introduced into Texas.

If citrus canker does somehow enter Texas, successful eradication will depend on the early detection of its presence. To that end, the following imagery shows the classic symptoms of the disease on citrus leaves, twigs and fruit. Should you observe any of these symptoms on citrus anywhere in the state, please contact Dr. Mani Skaria or Dr. John daGraca at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center or me.

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This page created and maintained by Julian W. Sauls, Ph. D

March 21, 2006