Citrus Disease Challenges

Southern Gardens Citrus proactively in works with all sectors of the citrus industry including higher education institutions and independent researchers in an effort to combat and eliminate Citrus Canker and Citrus Greening.

Citrus Diseases Citrus Canker is a bacterial infection affecting citrus trees (including oranges, grapefruit and lime) where lesions appear on the leaves, stems, and fruit of the affected tree. The disease causes the fruit to drop prematurely. While not harmful to humans, the disease is very hard to control and has lead to the destruction of millions of citrus trees in an attempt to eradicate the disease.

Citrus Greening or Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is considered to be the most serious disease of citrus anywhere it occurs in the world. It was first identified and confirmed in Florida in September 2005. By 2008, it was found in all Florida counties where citrus is grown commercially. Affected trees have stunted growth, bear multiple off-season flowers and produce small, bitter tasting, irregularly-shaped fruit that remains green at the bottom.

Research Field Trials: Given the current lack of successful control programs for this world-wide disease and a general lack of basic knowledge of the pathogen and its insect vector, Southern Gardens Citrus has initiated and participated in a wide variety of research projects intended to develop environmentally and scientifically proven methods to manage and control the disease. Southern Gardens is currently working with several groups including UF/IFAS, Texas A & M AgriLife Research, USDA and FDACS to achieve this goal.

Since 2007, Southern Gardens has participated in and sponsored multiple research projects to develop disease-resistant citrus trees and the results are promising. Two separate laboratory experiments, one with researchers from Texas A & M AgriLife and the second with Integrated Plant Genetics have produced the first generation of disease resistant trees. In 2009, U.S. Sugar was glad to partner with these organizations and began field testing these trees.

Read more about Southern Gardens Citrus research field trials.

Useful Links
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry
Department of Citrus (FDOC)
FDOC Grower