Micronutrient deficiency can look like HLB infection

Jun 12, 2012

Familiarity with symptoms caused by micronutrient deficiencies is important for citrus growers and pest control advisers to ensure such maladies are not confused with symptoms of Huanglongbing, reported Cary Blake in Western Farm Press.

Neil O’Connell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County, a citrus expert, recommends that field staff also be well versed on these issues since they are in the field daily during the citrus harvest.

Huanglongbing, a disease spread by Asian citrus psyllid, is the worst citrus disease in the world. The disease was detected on one tree in Southern California in March, the first such find in the state. Officials are asking for farmers and home gardeners to be on the look-out for other HLB-infected trees.

O'Connell says deficiencies of zinc, iron and manganese can resemble leaf symptoms found in trees with HLB.

"Some deficiencies have fairly similar symptoms," O'Connell said. "If you are very familiar with deficiency patterns in these elements then it is much easier to separate this out. You can recognize whether the problem is zinc, iron, manganese, or another deficiency while possibly ruling out HLB."

A distinguishing characteristic of HLB infection is a yellow area that crosses from one interveinal area to another, O'Connell explained.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist