Citrus Leprosis

Citrus Leprosis Rears Its Ugly Head: Know the Details

With citrus leprosis a re-emerging threat to citrus, know the details of the disease.

Citrus Leprosis Details

  • Appearance: “On symptomatic fruit, the spots are usually brown, reddish-brown or tan-colored. The lesions on fruit are limited to the fruit rind only and do not extend into the fruit sections.” And “The symptoms of leprosis are distinctive; however, they could be confused with citrus canker lesions on leaves, fruit and twigs.” Testing confirms the disease.
  • Impact: “Left untreated, leprosis disease will kill a mature citrus tree in about four years. Leprosis affects all citrus types (sweet orange, mandarin, lemon, grapefruit and citranges) as well as Swinglea glutinosa, a citrus relative.”
  • Transmission: “The disease is spread by Brevipalpus mites, commonly called broad mites. The Brevipalpus mites have a broad host range with over 900 plant hosts reported from 513 genera.”
  • Treatment: “Mite control is essential for the control of leprosis. In Brazil, where leprosis has been endemic for many years, 12 or more miticide applications are made yearly. Leprosis-infected trees can be recovered with the pruning of the symptomatic branches, followed by good mite control, but the pruning of individual trees is expensive.”
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