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Residential Citrus Growers: Help Us Stop the Spread of Citrus Disease

Posted by Lawrence Hawkins, Public Affairs Specialist, Legislative and Public Affairs, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Animals Plants
Feb 21, 2017
Example of citrus greening leaves.
Example of citrus greening leaves.

If you are like millions of other Americans, there’s a chance you have a citrus tree or two growing in your yard. As a residential citrus grower, it is very important to check your trees regularly for signs of disease.

A diseased tree in your yard may seem like no big deal; however, it can easily spread disease to other nearby trees and make its way to large commercial groves where significant damage can be done. If citrus disease were to spread out of control, it has the potential to destroy the entire U.S. citrus industry, causing the loss of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

Fortunately, USDA has made it easy to report suspected citrus disease through the Save Our Citrus website and smart phone reporting application, available in both English and Spanish. Thanks to your help, 540 suspected cases of citrus disease have been reported across the United States. Fourteen of these reports were confirmed to be citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB).

Citrus greening is one of the most severe plant diseases in the world. The disease has been detected in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The most commonly reported symptoms of suspected citrus disease from residents are related to discoloration of the leaves. More than 60 percent of reports submitted through the Save Our Citrus program cited spotted or blotched leaves, or leathery leaves with yellow or clear veins.

While these symptoms are telltale signs of citrus greening disease, abnormal looking citrus leaves can also be the result of other factors such as unfavorable weather or overwatering. This can make it difficult to distinguish serious disease from a harmless case of overwatering. To avoid confusion, the Save Our Citrus website now includes a list of tips to distinguish common leaf problems: Common Citrus Leaf Symptoms.

However, if you do suspect your tree may be infected, please don’t hesitate to report it through the Save Our Citrus website or iPhone app.  A mistaken case of disease is harmless compared to an undetected disease that spreads to other healthy trees.

Follow Save Our Citrus on Facebook and Twitter.

Category/Topic: Animals Plants

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Oct 23, 2013

How can we learn more about citrus disease and the technology to combat the diseases

Farmer Margie
Oct 24, 2013

Why don't you include "Florida" and "South Florida" in the Tags for this blog post? Florida's commercial citrus industry is the most threatened by citrus greening. In South Florida, where the disease is particularly rampant, homeowners NEED this kind of information! I would also include 'backyard citrus', "orange", "lime", "lemon", "grapefruit", "kumquat", "calamondin", "pommelo" and "tangerin" in the Tags. They help people find relevant articles more easily when they use familiar terms. Thank you for providing this service.

daisy mae
Oct 24, 2013

The article fails to mention that Citrus Greening has been detected in FL. There are plenty of residential citrus growers in FL too.

Ben Weaver
Oct 25, 2013

Thanks for pointing out that important missing state (which we added) — we apologize for that oversight! USDA is well aware that citrus greening is in Florida and taking a major toll. To learn about what we're doing to combat this disease in Florida and the other citrus-producing states, please visit our Citrus Health Response Program's Web page at

Apr 08, 2014


I am from Canada, but just wanted to see if anybody has an information about damages from cold weather to Citrus orchards. our trees has damaged from cold weather this year. in the area was so cold (never seen this bad) and no leaves yet, but no cracks on the branches. just wanted to see if we will have any or less products this year, because trees look dry with no leaf. the actual tree seem alive but every year leaves started to grow by now. please let me know if you can help.

thanks a lot in advance,

Apr 23, 2014

Is there any scientific evidence that would link this outbreak to climate change enabling conditions that allow it spread to occur easier?

Jennifer Coffee
May 20, 2015

Who would be the best person to contact/forum to post on of pictures of my leaves to determine whether my lisbon lemon has fallen victim to greening?

Ben Weaver
Jun 17, 2015

@Jennifer Coffee - If you think you have identified an infected plant, fill out the form on the website <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt; (Is Your Citrus Sick? page) and submit it or you can <a href="; rel="nofollow">download the iPhone app</a> and report via that path. You may also call your <a href="…; rel="nofollow">USDA State Plant Health Director’s office</a> (click on Report a Suspected Plant Pest or Disease to obtain the State Plant Health Director’s name for your state). We do ask that you do not move your plant to avoid spreading the disease. Thank you for being the first line of defense in stopping the devastation caused by citrus diseases. We can’t stop their spread without you, and others like you, who inspect their trees regularly and report suspected citrus disease.

Jul 17, 2017

In Los Angeles, you can find healthy citrus tree, free of disease at