2010 Florida Citrus Pest Management Guide: Tristeza

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university_of_florida.gifCitrus tristeza virus (CTV) is a major cause of the decline and eventual death of trees on sour orange rootstocks. Initially, affected trees have small leaves and twig dieback. Diseased trees often produce a crop of very small fruit. Eventually, large limbs die back and the tree gradually declines. In some cases, trees may suffer from quick decline and wilt and die in a matter of weeks. On sour orange rootstock, some isolates of CTV cause an incompatibility at the budunion, which results in the loss of fibrous roots and reduced ability for water uptake. Bark flaps cut from across the graft union of declining trees often show pitting consisting of small holes (honeycombing) on the inside face of the bark flap from the rootstock side of the union. Quick decline trees may only have a yellow-brown stain at the budunion, and not show the honeycombing. Only trees on sour orange rootstock are affected by tristeza decline. Sweet oranges usually are more affected than grapefruit, whereas lemons on sour orange rootstock are not affected by tristeza decline.

R.H. Brlansky
M.E. Hilf
P.J. Sieburth
W.O. Dawson
P.D. Roberts
L.W. Timmer
University of Florida, IFAS Extension