One of the many benefits to living in a tropical climate like Florida is the fact that anyone and everyone can grow a citrus tree. Many people in the state have their own lemon, lime and orange trees in their back or front yards. These trees provide seemingly endless nourishment transforming raw energy from the sun and soil into a delicious food.
Sometimes these trees can become sick and the fruit they bare is not edible. There are a few reasons why your citrus tree may be sick. In this article we go over a few of those reasons.
You may see what appear to be worms on your tree. They are eating the leaves and damaging it. These worms are actually larva of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. The eggs of this butterfly are orange and once hatched the larva look like bird poo. This is all part of the intelligence in the design as birds are less likely to eat them if they look like fecal matter. Brilliant!
The larva will feed on the leaves of a citrus tree until it develops wings and can fly away. Larger, more established trees can usually handle these things and survive with little problem. But too many of these larvae can kill a small tree.
This is a bacterial disease which causes damage to the entire tree. The good news is that it is harmless to humans. The bad news is that your tree may not be able to produce fruit and its growth can be severely stunted.
The citrus canker bacteria is spread through various methods including by wind, landscaping equipment and by people’s hands. Many people choose to remove the infected tree(s) and start over.
This canker spreads fast and is harmful to the citrus fruit industry therefore if your local government sees a cankerous plant they may remove it. There is a quarantine on the books for citrus trees affected by canker.