Citrus canker

Restrictions lifted

The restricted area quarantine status has been lifted in Katherine and the greater Darwin and rural areas.

This means you can plant citrus trees again. You should still monitor your plants and report any signs of the disease.

Control area movement restrictions still apply.

Citrus canker is a contagious plant disease that affects the health of plants including:

  • lemon
  • lime
  • mandarin
  • pomelo
  • grapefruit
  • some native species.

Infected plants display lesions that can form on leaves, fruit and stems.

The lesions increase in size to 5-10 millimetres (mm) over several months.

Eventually the lesions collapse forming a crater-like appearance. They become surrounded by characteristic yellow halos. The raised edges of the lesion may appear slimy.

Plants with the disease may have sluggish growth and reduced fruit quality and quantity.

In severe cases infected plants will die.

Plants that can get the disease

Citrus canker can infect all citrus plants and some other species. Get a full list of potential host plants.

Photo of a plant with symptoms of citrus canker Photo of citrus leaves with yellow lesions, a symptom of citrus canker Photo showing citrus canker symptoms on the branch of a citrus plant

Restrictions on planting citrus trees have been lifted.

There are still control area quarantines in place.

Control areas

You can't move citrus plants or related products out of the current control areas unless you have a permit.

The following locations are included in the control areas:

  • Darwin
  • Palmerston
  • the Darwin rural area
  • Bachelor
  • Adelaide River
  • Katherine.

Citrus canker can be spread by:

  • wind and rain
  • landscaping equipment
  • people through hands, clothing, or equipment
  • infected or exposed plants or plant parts.

Increased risk in the wet season

There is a greater risk of citrus canker spreading during the wet season due to increased rain and wind.

Citrus canker symptoms are also more common after heavy rain and high temperatures.

It is important to check your plants during the wet season and report any changes.

Storms may also interrupt the work of plant health inspectors in removing plants from properties in restricted areas.

Commercial growers, market gardeners and individuals can apply for a permit to move:

  • citrus plants and materials out of the control areas
  • citrus plants and materials within or from a restricted area.

It's your responsibility to get a permit to move citrus when quarantine and movement restrictions are in place.

You must submit your application at least five business days before the proposed movement date.

Apply for the permit:

If you have any questions, email

Last updated: 09 October 2020

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