Citrus disease causes concern as Louisiana's harvest gets underway
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana citrus growers have raised concerns regarding the amount of dry rot in fruit they're seeing this year.
LSU AgCenter's Dr. Raj Singh says growers have noticed a rise in mature fruit that appears perfectly healthy on the outside, but after peeling it, rot is clearly visible.
Singh explains the source of the dry rot, saying, "This internal dry rot is caused by a yeast called Nematospora coryli, which is transmitted by the western leaf-footed bug."
The leaf-footed bug is quite the traveler and has a special taste for satsuma mandarins.
Dr. Singh describes the bug's eating habits, saying, "It feeds by inserting its piercing-sucking mouthparts in the fruit, and feeding on ripening fruit causes premature color break and fruit drop."
As the bug dines on the fruit, it infects it with a yeast that causes dry rot.
So, what can Louisiana growers do to protect their citrus fruits and other plants from the pesky little traveler?
The LSU AgCenter suggests spraying horticulture oils or Malathion 57EC for managing leaf-footed bugs in backyard trees. However, malathion should NOT be applied to plants in full bloom and fewer than seven days before harvest.
Commercial citrus producers are advised to follow the citrus spray schedule recommended in the LSU AgCenter Insect Pest Management Guide, which is available at www.lsuagcenter.com.