Citrus trees are a great option for anyone looking to introduce fruit trees in their Brownsville property. Not only do they ensure you have enough supply of citrus fruits but also double up as flowering trees, keeping gardens vibrant and aesthetically appealing.
But as with most fruit trees in Brownsville, citrus trees are prone to bacterial canker, one of the deadliest tree diseases in Texas. Proper care and maintenance is, therefore, required to keep these trees healthy. Here, we look into the most effective citrus canker treatment, how to administer it, and how to care for your trees to keep this disease at bay.
What Is Citrus Canker?
Citrus canker is a contagious tree disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri. It affects the fruits, twigs, and leaves of the citrus tree, causing the tree to lose its foliage and unripe fruit to drop. The infected spots ooze sap that can transport the disease to healthy trees through human activities like irrigation or movement of the infected leaves, fruits, twigs, and other material from one place to another. Pruning has also been found to accelerate the spread of the disease.
The bacterium flourishes in warm, moist conditions and affects all citrus cultivars such as oranges, lime, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, and tangelo. Some cultivars, however, are more prone to the disease than others are.
The infected tree will display tiny blister-like formations on the leaves, fruit, stem, and twigs commonly referred to as lesions. These continuously enlarge over time and depending on their age, they can be of different sizes. As the disease progresses, the tree starts to lose its leaves and the fruits drop prematurely. Lesions do not penetrate the skin, so the fruit that remains will still be edible; only that the appearance won’t be so appealing.
Citrus Canker Treatment
Currently, there is no cure for citrus canker. The only way to control the disease is by constantly caring for your trees to keep the disease from your property. This involves applying preventative copper-based bactericides. If you are not sure which bactericide will work for your specific citric cultivar, liaise with a professional tree service Brownsville arborist.
Another way to prevent the spread of the citrus canker Texas gardeners should know about is trimming the infected summer and fall shoots and using windbreakers. All trimming should be done during the dry season when the conditions for the spread and breeding of the bacteria are less favorable. If you are just getting started with tree pruning, it would be wise to work with an expert tree pruning Texas service provider; they know what and where to cut and could significantly help prevent the spread of the disease.
Additional practices that can help manage citrus canker Texas tree disease include:
- Removing dead or wilted limbs underneath the infected areas.
- Disinfecting your pruning equipment with bleach after each cut.
- Removing grass and weeds around the base of young citrus trees to improve the circulation of air.
- Buying young plants and seedlings from (Texas Department of Agriculture) TDA-certified nurseries.
- Observing TDA rules and regulations before moving citrus budwood, fruit, seedlings, and other material outside or within the state.
- Removing and destroying infected trees to prevent future infections
- Planting disease-resistant citrus varieties
What You Should Know About Citrus Canker Protection Chemicals
When it comes to stopping Texas tree fungus, pests, bacteria, or any other disease that kills trees in this state, the first line of defense is keeping the trees healthy. We have seen that protection chemicals containing copper can help manage citrus canker. But these chemicals will only reduce the risk of the disease; they won’t prevent it or cure the infected trees.
The application timing of these chemicals is crucial to provide protection. Apply regularly especially during the pruning season to prevent the spread of the disease. People who live in warmer climates will obviously need to apply the chemicals more often, as citrus canker is more prevalent in these areas than it is in colder areas.
Depending on the size of the plant, multiple applications may be required to ensure the tree is covered properly. Information on the use and rates at which the chemicals should be administered is usually provided on the product label. Make sure to read all the labels and instructions before applying any disease control agent.
The Local Tree Experts Overview
Like most diseases affecting trees in Brownsville, the most effective citrus canker treatment is preventing the disease from invading your property in the first place. And this can be achieved through proper tree maintenance, as regular care can help boost the immunity of your trees and lower their risk of infections. Use chemical agents regularly, but remember, these will not treat citrus canker; they will only reduce the risk of occurrence. The only way to treat citrus canker is to completely remove the infected trees.