Agriculture Press Release

June 30, 1998

Citrus Canker Suspected in Collier Grove

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford announced today the possible presence of the Asian strain of citrus canker in a Collier County commercial fruit grove.

Confirmation is still pending from laboratories at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, and a private laboratory in Indiana, but preliminary diagnosis by plant pathologists with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry indicates the likely presence of Asian strain citrus canker on grapefruit samples taken from the K.T. Johns Grove in Immokalee.

"If this is citrus canker, we need a thorough assessment of the area in order to determine the most appropriate course of action," Crawford said.

Agriculture personnel are in Immokalee surveying the grove and surrounding area. Several adjacent groves will also be surveyed. When surveying is complete, officials expect to remove infected trees as quickly as possible to prevent further spread.

Citrus canker is a plant disease that is not harmful to humans or animals. It spreads rapidly, producing premature fruit drop, and leaf, stem and fruit lesions. The only known way of eradicating the disease is destruction of infected trees.


For More Information:

Maeve McConnell
Ned Davis
(352) 372-3505

Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022

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