BATON ROUGE — Citrus canker was recently detected at two nurseries, one in East Baton Rouge Parish and another in Livingston Parish. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry horticulture officials are asking residents who have citrus trees within the affected parishes to inspect the plants for signs of disease.

Horticulture officials said all affected plants were identified and removed.

Citrus canker, a bacterial disease that only affects citrus plants, is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis pv.citri. The disease is usually spread by wind-driven rain and causes lesions on the leaves, stems and fruit. The fruit is still edible and is not harmful to humans.

The LDAF will survey the two parishes to determine the extent of the disease. “These surveys will help us determine the source of the infection,” Horticulture and Quarantine Director Ansel Rankins said. “Property owners can help us by looking for any signs of this disease on their existing citrus trees and contacting our office if there are any present.”

Rankins added that it is important not to touch diseased plants, because citrus canker spreads very easily.

Citrus canker was first detected in the state at City Park in New Orleans in June 2013.

The current citrus canker quarantine includes the following parishes: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James and St. John. Federal and state quarantines restrict the movement of regulated articles such as citrus trees and fruit out of the quarantined area, unless the citrus trees are grown in a USDA-approved structure or the fruit is treated with a USDA-approved treatment. The approved structures, which are only found in Plaquemines Parish, prevent insects and/or disease from infecting the citrus nursery stock.

“A good rule of thumb is to plant citrus nursery stock within the same parish that it was purchased,” Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said. “It could help prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases.”

If you believe your citrus trees have citrus canker, contact the LDAF Horticulture and Quarantine Programs office at (225) 952-8100.