UF/IFAS research assistant scientist with CREC, Evan Johnson, shares options for dealing with citrus canker.

Citrus canker season is just around the corner, according to Evan Johnson, a research assistant scientist out of the UF/IFAS’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Johnson shared management strategies to combat canker in a Citrus Industry article, and how Hurricane Irma has. Read the details and be prepared for citrus canker.

Citrus Canker Management

Johnson recommends a three-prong approach in a citrus canker management strategy. They include:

  1. Copper applications. Johnson maintains that “The best citrus canker management plan is still copper sprays every 21 days from first susceptibility,..” and he shared that some groves may need to start copper spraying in mid to late March due to early flowering, though traditionally spraying starts in April. Copper must be sprayed before rain to create a barrier.
  2. Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) inducers. Johnson recommends a SAR inducer like Actigard to reduce the bacteria that causes citrus canker. He cautions that it’s “best applied post-bloom, but before favorable conditions appear.” Those favorable conditions are the rainy season that is soon to arrive.
  3. Johnson maintains that windbreaks are “one of the best methods to reduce the spread of canker within a grove, especially when combined with a good copper program.” Hurricane Irma likely damaged many windbreaks, and Johnson shared that replanting windbreaks should be a priority to cut down on wind blowing through groves and spreading the canker bacteria.

According to Johnson, Hurricane Irma also left stem lesions that makes it easier for the canker bacteria to make it into citrus leaves, meaning groves affected by Irma will likely continue to see canker issues.

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