Agriculture officials warn of citrus disease

Disease could damage tree growth

By Monica Whitsel - Associate producer
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GULF BREEZE, Fla. - Agriculture experts are warning of a citrus disease, which could pose a threat to citrus tree growth. The disease, called citrus canker, is highly contagious and can cause extreme damage to the trees.

The Pensacola News Journal reported the northwest Florida's first case of the disease was confirmed in Santa Rosa County. 

The disease causes the fruit to drop prematurely. It's transmitted by a bacterial pathogen. 

If the fruit is infected it'll have raised lesions on the fruit itself or its leaves. 

Commercial Horticulture Agent Blake Thaxton says the county is working stop the spread of the disease by soon removing any infected trees. 

Thaxton warns that the disease cannot only spread by people and their hands, but also through the wind and air. He says to avoid removing the infected plants. A simple removing of the plant and placing it on the ground can spread the disease to others. 

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