Citrus canker is a serious disease affecting citrus (and some other plant species of the Rutaceae family) caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp.
Citrus trees infected with citrus canker display unsightly lesions which can form on leaves, fruit and stems. Trees infected with the disease may suffer from low vigour and a reduction in fruit quality and quantity. Citrus canker impacts on citrus production and is the subject of a number of control and eradication programs around the world.
Citrus canker was initially detected in the Northern Territory in April 2018 and an emergency response to the disease is currently underway.
Following tracing and testing of nursery plants imported from Darwin, there are confirmed and linked cases of citrus canker on a property in Katherine, as well as three properties in Western Australia’s north, two at Kununurra and one in Wyndham.
A nationally coordinated response to the disease is currently underway in both Northern Territory and Western Australia, to locate and remove all traces of citrus canker. For further information visit the national citrus canker response page.
PIRSA Biosecurity SA has been conducting surveillance and tracing activities. At this stage the disease has not been found in South Australia. See the Northern Territory’s Department of Primary Industry and Resources website for more information including maps.
Citrus canker does not affect human health, animals or other plants, and infected fruit remains safe to be consumed.
What to do if you detect Citrus Canker
Early detection, reporting and not moving infected plants is vital, and will provide the best chance of eradicating this disease.
A movement control order (Importing commercial plants and plant products) is now in place for citrus canker and carriers which means that host plants, planting materials and equipment may not be brought into South Australia. An industry alert has also been issued. This is to prevent it spreading into South Australian produce areas.
In South Australia, citrus canker is prohibited matter under the Biosecurity Act.
Do not touch the lesions or move plant material off your property - this can spread the disease.
Early detection and reporting of symptoms are the key to controlling this disease.
Be on the lookout for symptoms and report them to Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.