Citrus Canker Fact Sheet
Citrus canker is a bacterial disease of citrus that causes premature leaf and fruit drop.
Citrus canker is highly contagious and can be spread rapidly by:
- windborne rain
- lawnmowers and other landscaping equipment
- people carrying the infection on their hands, clothing, or equipment
- moving infected or exposed plants or plant parts
What does citrus canker look like?
Symptoms on leaves and fruit are brown, raised lesions surrounded by an oily, water-soaked margin and a yellow ring or halo. Old lesions in leaves may fall out, creating a shot-hole effect.
Is the disease harmful to me?
No, citrus canker does not harm humans or animals or plant life other than citrus.
Does canker affect only orange trees?
Citrus canker affects all types of citrus, including oranges, sour oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons and limes. Canker causes the citrus tree to continually decline in health and fruit production. Ultimately, the tree will produce no fruit at all.
Why did the eradication program stop?
The USDA withdrew eradication program funding due to the impacts of legal constraints and the 2004/2005 hurricanes that caused canker to spread so far that eradication was no longer possible. The decision was based on the best available science.
Is the state going to be surveying for canker and other citrus diseases any more?
The state, along with the USDA and UF/IFAS, is developing a citrus health response program that will provide management strategies for citrus diseases. It is unknown at this time if those strategies will include a residential survey component. Surveying for canker and other citrus diseases may be incorporated into existing state survey programs such as the fruit fly trapping program.
I think my tree has citrus canker, what should I do?
The state is working with the USDA and UF/IFAS to determine new management strategies for citrus diseases. Recommendations for dealing with trees suspected of having citrus canker will be available soon. For now, you should not move any citrus plant material or fruit from your property and avoid coming into contact with the suspect plant to prevent spread of the disease. Do not mail or bring samples of suspected citrus canker or greening to extension offices. Instead, call your county extension office and ask them if it would be possible to send an agent out to your property. You may also contact the state helpline for assistance.
Are the quarantines still in effect?
The individual quarantines have been eliminated, but there is a USDA statewide quarantine in effect.There are restrictions on shipping or taking fruit out of Florida. Check the DPI Web site for more information.
Can I plant citrus?
Yes. However, you must purchase certified citrus plants from nurseries that are registered with the state and because of devastating diseases such as citrus canker and citrus greening, we strongly recommend that residents find alternatives to planting citrus – there are many wonderful fruit trees that can be grown in your area.
Can I cut down my citrus tree, or can I hire someone to cut it down?
Voluntary removal of citrus trees is allowed.
Can I send a sample of my sick citrus tree in?
Please do not mail or bring in samples to your county extension office. Instead, please ask them to send an agent out to examine your tree.
Do these changes in the canker program effect compensation?
Residents who had trees removed as part of the citrus canker eradication program should receive compensation. Compensation questions can be directed to the DPI helpline.
My property was damaged when my citrus tree was removed by the state. What should I do?
Contact the state helpline.
- Individual citrus canker quarantines have been eliminated.
- Citrus can be replanted, but must be purchased from certified nurseries that are registered with the state.
- Decontamination requirements have been lifted for lawn maintenance companies operating in canker quarantine areas. However, the Department encourages good sanitation practices to protect plants from harmful pests and diseases.
- Citrus material (trees, fruit, rootstock, leaves, potted citrus plants, etc.) should not be moved from the state without a limited permit from the USDA. Transport to citrus producing states is prohibited. For more information call the helpline or visit the DPI Web site for more information.
Recent History of Citrus Canker in Florida ~ pdf - Text and Map