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Posted 16 May 2010. PMN Crop News.

BASF Crop Protection Provides Management Solution for Citrus Black Spot in Florida

Source: BASF Press Release.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (May 6, 2010)--Citrus black spot - a disease new to citrus growers in the United States - was recently confirmed in Florida by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, triggering immediate concern across the state.


Fortunately, citrus growers can head off this disease with an effective fungicide labeled specifically to control black spot - Headline® fungicide.

Citrus black spot can pose a significant threat to fresh sales and crop yield through premature fruit drop. Lemons and late-maturing citrus varieties like Valencia are especially susceptible to the disease. If not managed early, it can have devastating effects. In countries like Brazil where citrus black spot is rampant, growers have experienced crop losses up to 80 percent.

“Florida growers have already discovered the benefit of using Headline to prevent the spread of citrus greasy spot,” said Jerry Minore, Senior Market Manager, BASF. “With the appearance of citrus black spot, there is a pressing need for growers to protect their crops. Those growers who aggressively combat disease have a chance to greatly decrease the threat of fruit drop this season.”

Citrus black spot spores spread on dead leaves, which are often transported with harvested fruit. A single leaf can harbor 50,000 spores, and identifying infected leaves is difficult because of a lack of lesions. As trucks transport fruit and leaves, they drop infected leaves into other groves, continuing the spread of the disease.

USDA and Florida officials encourage the use of tarps on trucks during transport to reduce spread, but a good defense for growers is regular applications of Headline fungicide throughout the season. Headline fungicide blocks spores from penetrating the fruit, protects against black spot disease, provides Plant Health benefits and helps growers maximize yield.

Experts recommend treating citrus with Headline fungicide in rotation with copper between the time fruitlets appear in spring until harvest in fall. Up to 54 total fluid ounces of Headline fungicide may be applied per season.

“Growers fighting disease in citrus are using Headline fungicide already,” Minore said. “By using this same product, growers can protect crops all season long, even from new threats like black spot.”

Pat Morrow