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How to Overcome Citrus Disease in Plants

CITRUS is one the most important fruit worldwide next to grapes in terms of area and production. Pakistan occupies 13th position among all the citrus producing countries, with an area of about 200,000 hectares (2.25 per cent of the world), and a yield of two million tons of the fruit per year. Punjab dominating in production of citrus, 64 per cent of the production among citrus is taken by kinnow alone. Citrus has been found to prevent liver, lungs and skin cancer, heart diseases, birth defects and contributes to a balance and healthy lifestyle. It is one of the best sources of vitamin C, sugar, amino acids and other nutrients. As citrus is very popular but our farmers are facing several problems, which affect the citrus overall production. Major problems includes: (a) unfruitfulness, (b) alternate bearing, (c) flowers and fruits dropping, (d) insect, pest and diseases. Among all these major problems and diseases that are susceptible to citrus crops, citrus canker is one of the most devastating diseases.

All citrus varieties are susceptible to citrus canker but kinnow being highly affected. This disease is actually caused by bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. Citri occurs on large area of Pakistan. This disease is damaging the fruit badly and ultimately great loss for the growers. Severity of disease depends on varieties and species and also on prevailing climatic conditions. Main symptoms of citrus canker are dieback, defoliation and dropping of fruit occur. First look of the diseased leave is oily having 2–10 mm having almost equal sized circular spots usually on upper surface of leaves. Circular lesions become raised and appear blister-like, growing into white or yellow spongy pustules on leaves, stems, thorns and fruit. These pustules then become darken and thicken into brown corky canker, which is rough to the touch shown in below Figures samples from Koont farm, Chakwal.

 

So, this disease is resulting in poor quality and quantity of fruit. It is causing large economic losses to the growers. Main reasons of this disease are infected nursery plants that are primary inoculums for newly established citrus orchards and thus spread of bacteria within citrus nurseries and commercial plantations.

This diseased can primarily be controlled by eradication method to established and maintain area free of citrus canker for establishing new orchards with cultivars of moderate susceptibility. Next control is production of pathogens free buds of citrus cultivars. Cultural practices include windbreaks and pruning of diseased shoots in summer and autumn. This is an important and effective measure to control citrus diseases. Chemical control of citrus canker preventive sprays of copper-based bactericides i.e. copper oxychloride. Usually, three to five sprays are necessary for effective control of citrus canker on citrus cultivars. Spraying neem cake solution (50g/litre water) during rainy season at 15 days interval greatly reduces the disease incidence. Twigs that are infected must be pruned and developing blooms should be sprayed with one per cent Bordeaux mixture or streptomycin at 20-25 days interval.

Orchard production areas like Sargodha, Faisalabad, Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sahiwal, Multan and Bahawalpur need to prevent or reduce the risk of citrus canker epidemics. These major problems can be reduced if growers follow the recommendations and understand the effective application of chemical fertilizer to control insects and other diseases which are becoming great loss for the citrus orchards. Main problem is the lack of information which affects the decisions of growers. Jazz Bakhabar Kissan Service provides great services by giving photo analysis using Mobile Application through which farmer can get accurate identification of disease or pest and better recommendations with respect to problems. Jazz Bakhabar Kissan Experts provide Biological control and in extreme if destruction is beyond ETL they give Chemical recommendation. Dial 03030300000 for expert’s recommendations. Jazz Bakhabar Kissan Service can be a life savior project for farming community and whole humanity if chemical use is reduced.

About Sadia Noorin

Msc(Hons.) Plant Pathology, ARID AGRICULTURE UNIVERSITY RAWALPINDI

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