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Residential Citrus Growers: Help Us Stop the Spread of Citrus Disease

Example of citrus greening leaves.

Example of citrus greening leaves.

If you are like millions of other Americans, there’s a chance you have a citrus tree or two growing in your yard. As a residential citrus grower, it is very important to check your trees regularly for signs of disease.

A diseased tree in your yard may seem like no big deal; however, it can easily spread disease to other nearby trees and make its way to large commercial groves where significant damage can be done. If citrus disease were to spread out of control, it has the potential to destroy the entire U.S. citrus industry, causing the loss of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

Fortunately, USDA has made it easy to report suspected citrus disease through the Save Our Citrus website and smart phone reporting application, available in both English and Spanish. Thanks to your help, 540 suspected cases of citrus disease have been reported across the United States. Fourteen of these reports were confirmed to be citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB).

Citrus greening is one of the most severe plant diseases in the world. The disease has been detected in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The most commonly reported symptoms of suspected citrus disease from residents are related to discoloration of the leaves. More than 60 percent of reports submitted through the Save Our Citrus program cited spotted or blotched leaves, or leathery leaves with yellow or clear veins.

While these symptoms are telltale signs of citrus greening disease, abnormal looking citrus leaves can also be the result of other factors such as unfavorable weather or overwatering. This can make it difficult to distinguish serious disease from a harmless case of overwatering. To avoid confusion, the Save Our Citrus website now includes a list of tips to distinguish common leaf problems: Common Citrus Leaf Symptoms.

However, if you do suspect your tree may be infected, please don’t hesitate to report it through the Save Our Citrus website or iPhone app.  A mistaken case of disease is harmless compared to an undetected disease that spreads to other healthy trees.

Follow Save Our Citrus on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Responses to “Residential Citrus Growers: Help Us Stop the Spread of Citrus Disease”

  1. Dewberry says:

    How can we learn more about citrus disease and the technology to combat the diseases

  2. Farmer Margie says:

    Why don’t you include “Florida” and “South Florida” in the Tags for this blog post? Florida’s commercial citrus industry is the most threatened by citrus greening. In South Florida, where the disease is particularly rampant, homeowners NEED this kind of information! I would also include ‘backyard citrus’, “orange”, “lime”, “lemon”, “grapefruit”, “kumquat”, “calamondin”, “pommelo” and “tangerin” in the Tags. They help people find relevant articles more easily when they use familiar terms. Thank you for providing this service.

  3. daisy mae says:

    The article fails to mention that Citrus Greening has been detected in FL. There are plenty of residential citrus growers in FL too.

  4. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    Thanks for pointing out that important missing state (which we added) — we apologize for that oversight! USDA is well aware that citrus greening is in Florida and taking a major toll. To learn about what we’re doing to combat this disease in Florida and the other citrus-producing states, please visit our Citrus Health Response Program’s Web page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus/.

  5. Fred says:

    Hi,

    I am from Canada, but just wanted to see if anybody has an information about damages from cold weather to Citrus orchards. our trees has damaged from cold weather this year. in the area was so cold (never seen this bad) and no leaves yet, but no cracks on the branches. just wanted to see if we will have any or less products this year, because trees look dry with no leaf. the actual tree seem alive but every year leaves started to grow by now. please let me know if you can help.

    thanks a lot in advance,
    Fred,

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