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Jul 5, 2013 9:26 AM by AP

Citrus canker in La; 1st time outside FL since '45

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - State and federal workers are checking trees in the heart of Louisiana's citrus country because a few in nearby New Orleans were infected with citrus canker. That's a dangerous bacterial infection found only in Florida since 1945.

LSU Agricultural Center plant pathologist Raj (RAHJ) Singh says the bacteria damage all kinds of citrus from kumquats to grapefruit, causing a gradual decline until the tree stops producing fruit. Infected leaves and fruit may fall early.

Alan Vaughn at the AgCenter's Citrus Research Station in Belle Chasse says he's had calls from people worried their trees might have canker. He says they should get the trees tested. But he says that so far, citrus canker hasn't been found in Plaquemines Parish, where half of Louisiana's 600 acres of citrus orchards are located.

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