Citrus diseases continue to spread

By Alex Galbraith
 
Two debilitating citrus diseases have found their way into Southeast Louisiana and appear to be spreading. Citrus greening, a disease that causes citrus plants to mature improperly and turns the resulting fruit bitter, was originally found in Algiers in 2008. Since that time it has been found in Gentilly and Washington Parish, leading to quarantines of Orleans and Washington Parish citrus. The disease is caused by bacteria that are transferred via insects, making it easier to contain using quarantines, insecticides and proper disposal of infected plants. Citrus canker, on the other hand, can be spread via wind and rain and as a result is much harder to contain. The disease causes distinct lesions on citrus peels and leaves. It can cause fruit to fall from the tree prematurely.
 
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