Canker Quarantine Expanded in Texas

Clint ThompsonCitrus, Diseases, Florida, Top

Citrus canker lesions on fruit.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced June 30 it was immediately expanding the area quarantined for citrus canker in Texas. The agency added portions of Cameron County near San Benito and Brownsville to prevent the spread of the disease.

APHIS confirmed the positive identification of citrus canker in two residential trees in San Benito on Oct. 1, 2019. On Nov. 27, 2019, APHIS confirmed the positive identification of the disease in one residential citrus tree in Brownsville. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) completed delimiting surveys around the locations and found additional citrus trees positive for the disease in the Brownsville area. TDA established an intrastate quarantine area that parallels federal regulatory requirements.

Under the current quarantine regulations, the interstate movement of citrus plants and plant parts, other than commercially packed and disinfected citrus fruit, remains prohibited. Citrus nursery stock that is moved in accordance with regulations may move from quarantined areas.

Those seeking additional information regarding the citrus canker program may call National Policy Manager John Bienapfl at 301-313-9223. See the detailed federal order regarding the quarantine expansion here.

Citrus canker was first identified in the United States near the Florida-Georgia border in 1910. The disease was considered eradicated in 1933. But in 1995, canker was again discovered in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Despite a 10-year effort to eradicate the disease from Florida, a series of unprecedented storms in 2004 and 2005 spread the disease to the point where eradication was no longer possible. Eradication efforts in Florida ended on Jan. 10, 2006. Efforts in Florida shifted to containing the disease and establishing criteria under which fruit and nursery stock could safely move out of Florida.

Citrus canker was found in Louisiana in 2014 and in Texas in 2016.

Earlier this year, plant pathologist Megan Dewdney with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, offered suggestions for managing citrus canker at different times of the year. See her recommendations.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service