Hurricane Wilma devastated several agricultural industries in southwest Florida including sugar and citrus. The storm may have done lasting damage by worsening the spread of citrus canker. ‘That’ bacteria is spread by wind and rain. Last year, canker led to the destruction of 70-thousand acres of trees...five times as much as the past decade combined. Florida Citrus Mutual spokeswoman Casey Pace says it will take time to learn the true extent of Wilma’s damage.
“It’s unfortunate also...and a lot of people say, ‘how much damage do you think Wilma did?’ Most of the times when we’re going to see new canker finds is going to be in the spring...when the trees are growing new leaves and they’re beginning to flush their new growth. That’s when we’re going to see signs of canker. That’s what happened last year and that’s probably what’s going to happen this year as well.”
The citrus industry is worth an estimated nine-billion dollars to the state’s economy. About 17-percent of this year’s crop was knocked to the ground by Wilma’s winds.
Wednesday, 02 November 2005 00:00