Citrus trees can be severely affected by virus diseases. In fact, virus and virus-like diseases have destroyed entire groves of citrus trees, some 50 million trees in the past 50 years. Other diseases reduce a citrus tree’s size and vigor, as well as the amount of fruit produced. One disease to look out for in a home orchard is citrus xyloporosis, caused by the Cachexia xyloporosis virus. What is cachexia xyloporosis? Read on for information on xyloporosis of citrus.
What is Cachexia Xyloporosis?
Not everyone is familiar with the citrus xyloporosis virus, and this includes many who grow citrus crops. So exactly what is cachexia xyloporosis?
Cachexia xyloporosis is a plant disease caused by a viroid, a small, infectious RNA molecule. Cachexia, also known as xyloporosis cachexia of citrus, can be identified by distinctive symptoms. These include severe pitting and gumming in the bark and wood.
Xyloporosis cachexia of citrus attacks some tangerine species including Orlando tangelo, mandarins and sweet lime. It can affect rootstocks as well as tree canopies.
Citrus Xyloporosis Treatment
Cachexia xyloporosis virus, as well as other viroids, are usually passed from tree to tree through grafting techniques like budwood. The disease-causing virus can also be spread by using tools that have touched a diseased tree. For example, cachexia xyloporosis can be spread by pruning equipment, budding knives or other tools used to cut citrus trees. These can include hedging and topping equipment.
Young trees suffering from viroid-caused diseases, including xyloporosis cachexia of citrus, must be destroyed; they cannot be cured. Viroids generally do not affect the fruit production in mature trees.
Obviously, if you are growing citrus trees, you are going to want to avoid spreading cachexia xyloporosis virus. The best way to do this is to purchase trees that are free of the viroids.
On grafted trees, be sure that the nursery certifies all grafting and budwood sources as free of viroids. This is especially true if your tree has a rootstock or is a cultivar known to be sensitive to citrus xyloporosis.
Those grafting or pruning trees should use only equipment disinfected with bleach (1% free chlorine) to avoid spreading xyloporosis cachexia of citrus. Disinfect repeatedly if you are moving from one budwood source to another.