Citrus canker detected in NT

Citrus canker detected in the Northern Territory

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Citrus canker infected fruit, stems and leaves. Photo: Timothy Schubert, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Citrus canker infected fruit, stems and leaves. Photo: Timothy Schubert, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

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The serious disease of citrus was found in a potted lime variety.

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Citrus canker – a serious disease of citrus – has been detected in a retail nursery in the Northern Territory.

Citrus Australia chief executive officer Nathan Hancock said Citrus canker had previously been found in Australia and was successfully eradicated.

“We hope that this early detection and related activity to contain the disease through controlled movement of citrus plant material will give us the best chance of eradicating the disease,” Mr Hancock said.

The disease was detected on a potted lime variety, which is a patio plant not found in commercial production. All citrus products have been removed from sale at the affected retail nurseries and held in quarantine and will be disposed of safely.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), which provides technical and scientific advice in response to exotic plant pest and disease outbreaks, has met to discuss this incident and is considering the next steps. 

“Citrus Australia is working on this issue with successful eradication as the desired outcome in this instance and we will be working with the authorities, local community and growers to do what we can to achieve this,” said Hancock.

Hancock added that Citrus Australia wants to encourage all citrus growers – both commercial and backyard – to report any signs of infection immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. Anyone who has recently purchased a citrus plant from a Darwin or Palmerston retail nursery recently should immediately contact the hotline.

“As this issue is at this time thought to be linked to nursery material I would encourage growers and nurserymen across Australia to inspect any new material and be sure you know its origin,” Hancock said.

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