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How do you control citrus cankers?

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Citrus cankers can be controlled by following decontamination protocols, removing affected areas, pruning or defoliating with copper sprays or constructing windbreaks, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The effectiveness of these methods of controlling citrus cankers remains an ongoing concern for orchard owners.

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The deadly bacteria known commonly as "citrus canker" travels through the air and soil as it slowly decimates citrus trees of all varieties. The disease causes lesions on the fruit, stems and leaves of orange, grapefruit, lime and other trees, as reported by the USDA and the not-for-profit Save Our Citrus organization. The disease was eradicated twice before in the early 20th century and in the 1990s. However, the disease returned to America a third time, and after ten years of effort the USDA declared that citrus cankers can no longer be eradicated. Orchard owners should report all cases of citrus cankers to the USDA.

Orchard workers can control the spread of citrus cankers by burning infected trees, spraying infected soil with copper or fertilizer sprays and managing soil distribution. Decontaminating harvest implements and taking extra precautions at the time of harvest are especially important in limiting the disease's spread, states the University of Florida.

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