Citrus canker


Citrus canker has been found in the Northern Territory (NT).

Quarantine, movement and cultivation controls are in place for citrus plants and fruit.

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

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

If you live in the Top End and have a citrus plant you should report it. Inspectors will check your plant for the disease. Plants bought or received since 1 January 2017 are of particular interest.


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

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.

Restricted areas

Areas where infected plants have been found have additional restrictions on the movement, planting and possession of citrus plants.

These include areas of the following suburbs and regions of the greater Darwin area:

If you live in a restricted area

Don't move any citrus or other plants that can host citrus canker disease to or from your property.

NT Government plant health inspectors are removing all citrus canker host plants and materials from properties in the 12 restricted areas.

Call or text 0436 643 470 to arrange a time for authorised inspectors to visit your property.

You can't plant any citrus canker host plants until quarantine, movement and cultivation restrictions are lifted.

You can still buy and sell citrus fruit and juice that comes from outside the restricted area. This includes NT produced citrus products from outside the restricted areas, and products found in most supermarkets.

Citrus canker does not harm humans or animals and fruit remains safe for consumption.

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
  • move citrus plants and materials within or from a restricted area.

It is 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:

Citrus movement application PDF (169.9 KB)

If you have any queries email

Find out more about citrus canker on the Plant Health Australia website.

Fact sheets

Information in other languages


Contact the Department of Primary Industry and Resources by:

Last updated: 17 February 2020


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