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Department of Agriculture And LSU Ag Center Fight Disease Infecting Valuable Louisiana Fruits

Hamza Butt /

The state Department of Agriculture and Forestry is teaming up with the LSU AgCenter to fight citrus canker disease.  The disease is spread by wind driven rain, causing lesions on the leaves and fruit.  It was first found in the state in 2013 at City Park in New Orleans.  State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says there is no cure right now, but hopes their research will produce results to slow the disease.


Strain hopes that a sample will be found that is "resistant to the disease." 


The citrus economy has an over six-million-dollar impact to the Louisiana economy annually.  But unfortunately, once a tree is infected, Strain says the fruit isn’t sellable anymore.


Stain says that the fruit is "still edible," but it doesn't look appealing when the disease has spread. 


If a tree is suspected of carrying citrus canker disease, Strain says the best thing to do is destroy it, but he has these precautions.


Strain says to plant another citrus tree as far away as possible from the site of the infected tree. Strain advises to do this because of the disease's ability to spread into soil. 


The study is being funded through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.