Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Citrus Brown Rot

I was walking past my potted citrus trees, not really giving them more than a casual glance, when something unusual caught my eye. It was a big nasty brown area on a large but immature lemon.

Ugly looking lemon with a huge brown splotch.
I picked it off the tree and gave it a closer look. It actually had the appearance of a bulls-eye; brown concentric rings spreading from a circular center. I walked inside and fired up the Google while the bulls-eye stared back at me.

After a quick research session, I concluded that this lemon suffered (it's now deceased, I chucked it in the bin) from Citrus Brown Rot. According to the UC Pest Management Guidelines:

"Brown rot is caused by multiple species of Phytophthora when conditions are cool and wet. Brown rot develops mainly on fruit growing near the ground when Phytophthora spores from the soil are splashed onto the tree skirts during rainstorms; infections develop under continued wet conditions. Fruit in the early stage of the disease may go unnoticed at harvest and infect other fruit during storage."

Phytophthora is a tongue twister. It's also sort of like a fungi but also different. I won't get into the biological details. Not because I don't want to bore you, but because I don't understand most of it.

Guess where this lemon was growing? Yup, about four inches off the ground. We received over 10 inches of rain in the past five days and conditions have been generally wet and humid for two months. So basically perfect conditions for this stuff to thrive.

While I was fairly confident I correctly identified the ailment, I was more than disappointed that the person who named said ailment was less than creative. Citrus Brown Rot. Seriously? What about something like Brown Cyclops Syndrome or Ring of Suffering?

Citrus Brown Rot. It's a small price to pay for organic growing.


Anonymous said...

Your names are WAY better for this disease, I agree!

Kim said...

LOL I have to agree with you. Very amusing. So sorry about your lemon though.

Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Duarte brand lime and a daisy Mandarian from Home Depot. It was an end of the season sale (down from $24 to $6 each)but the plants had not been properly tended. The lime has a lot of new growth and is so pot bound that I have to water it every day and the leaves curl. The mandarin was pruned heavily before I bought it but also has a couple of stems of new growth. I was told not to repot them or they won't bloom and fruit. For now I kept both plants in the original pots and put them in another pot with potting soil to help retain moisture. Any suggestions on this and citrus care? I've found little helpful info on line. Helen

CyberSyb said...

Love "ring of suffering" - you are so tenderhearted with your plants! :)

sensible Gardening said...

A lemon tree in my yard would be like a gift from above! I'm afraid my zone 5 garden will not support anything citrus, but what a treat it must be to go out and pick a fresh lemon off a tree. Apples or pears anyone??

Mary said...

You have wonderful fruit. I love the figs, I wish I had.