(WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is reporting citrus canker was recently detected at two nurseries, one in East Baton Rouge and one in Livingston Parish.
LDAF officials are urging residents in the affected parishes who have citrus trees to inspect their plants for signs of the disease. Officials also say the affected plants were removed from the nurseries.
Citrus canker is a bacterial disease that only affects citrus plants and is caused by the bacterium, Xanthomonas axonopodis pv.citri. The disease is typically spread by wind-driven rain and causes lesions of the leaves, stems, and fruit of the plant. The fruit, however, is still edible and not harmful to humans.
LDAF says they plan to survey the two affected parishes to determine the extent of the infection.
“These surveys will help us determine the source of the infection. Property owners can help us by looking for any signs of this disease on their existing citrus trees and contacting our office if there are any present,” said Horticulture and Quarantine Director Ansel Rankins.
Rankins advises residents to not touch any diseased plants because citrus canker can spread very easily.
Federal and state quarantines restrict the movement of regulated articles, such as citrus trees and fruit, out of the quarantined areas, unless the plant is grown in a USDA-approved structure or the fruit is treated with a USDA-approved treatment. The only approved structures in the quarantine area are in Plaquemines Parish. The current citrus canker quarantine includes the following parishes:
- St. Bernard
- St. Charles
- St. James
- St. John the Baptist
“A good rule of thumb is to plant citrus nursery stock within the same parish that it was purchased. It could help prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM.
Anyone who believes their citrus plants have citrus canker should contact the LDAF Horticulture and Quarantine Programs office at 225-952-8100.