A USDA scientist believes Hurricane Irma spread citrus black spot to more Florida citrus groves.

Citrus black spot is a fungal disease affecting citrus trees in Southwest Florida, but a USDA scientist believes there is a high probability Hurricane Irma’s high winds in the fall of 2017 have carried spores and infected leaf matter to other parts of Florida, according to a Citrus Industry article. Tim Gottwald’s conclusions, a scientist with the USDA, were shared by UF/IFAS pathologist and associate professor, Megan Dewdney, at a citrus seminar in Immokalee. See details below.

Being on the Lookout for Citrus Black Spot

Dewdney maintained that it will be some time before Gottwald’s conclusions are shown to be accurate or not. “…it’s going to take us four to five years from now to see whether he (Gottwald) is correct or not,” Dewdney is quoted in the article as having said.

She recommended that Florida citrus growers outside of the regions that citrus black spot is usually found in start checking their groves for symptoms of black spot.  “…it is something that people should be cognizant of, especially if they are down in the Gulf Coast region and don’t have the disease already in their groves.”

Citrus black spot has four different forms. Information on fruit symptoms of all four forms, as well as leaf and stem symptoms, can be found on this UF/IFAS Extension black spot information page.  “One of the best protections against any disease is to know what you have and be able to then take action,” Dewdney advised. “If you don’t know it’s there, then you can’t do anything about it.” Recommended treatment includes “alternating copper and strobilurins,” according to the article.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.