Valley Harvests Threatened by Citrus Canker

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WESLACO – Rio Grande Valley citrus growers are facing more threats than the cold this season.

According to South Texas Citrus Alert, wind-driven rain is one of the main factors that spread citrus canker. The bacterial infection, which can cause lesions on the leaves, stems and fruit of citrus trees, including lime, oranges and grapefruit, can destroy an entire harvest.

The Rancho Viejo area is under a canker quarantine. The Valley strain only infects limes and lemons, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website.

Members with Texas Citrus Mutual fear wind and rain from Houston could spread a much more dangerous strain.

“It would be devastating. Florida has had the canker for years and it’s troublesome,” said Dale Murden with Texas Citrus Mutual.

However, he said the cold weather is impacting another threat in our region. He said the low temperatures tend to slow down the activity of the Mexican fruit fly, which causes citrus greening. 

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