Citrus Black Spot on the Run in Florida

Citrus Black Spot on the Run in Florida

citrus black spot symptoms on Valencia oranges

Similar to canker, citrus black spot forms dark lesions on fresh fruit skin and adversely impacts the crop’s marketability. Photo by P. Barkley, Biological and Chemical Research Institute, Bugwood.org

Citrus black spot is a fungal foe that just won’t go. Just ask Florida growers. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently expanded the disease’s quarantine area in the Southwest part of the Sunshine State by adding eight sections in Charlotte County, nine sections in Lee County, 28 sections in Hendry County, and five sections in Collier County. The latest quarantine expansion marks the first time that citrus black spot has been detected on a residential property since the disease was first found in Florida in 2010.

The action is in response to the confirmation of the fungal disease during annual surveys conducted by APHIS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry. The quarantine is updated annually at the completion of grove surveys.

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A list of the current related quarantine areas, federal orders, and APHIS-approved packinghouse procedures can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/blackspot.

According to APHIS, symptoms are most evident on mature fruit and typically remain latent on leaves with little to no symptom development until after the leaves die. Fresh citrus fruit that is moved interstate from the citrus black spot quarantine areas must be packed in commercial citrus packinghouses operating under a compliance agreement with APHIS and the fruit must be processed using APHIS-approved methods. Citrus plant parts other than fresh fruit are prohibited from movement outside the quarantine area.