If you own several orange, grapefruit, or other types of fruit trees on your property, take steps to protect them from yellow dragon disease, also known as citrus greening disease and Huanglongbing. Yellow dragon disease is a devastating citrus fruit disease carried by infectious insects called Asian citrus psyllids. The pests infest your trees with a potent bacteria that destroy the fresh, baby leaves the trees produce each season. In most cases, it only takes about five years for the disease to kill your fruit trees. Learning more about citrus greening disease and the problems it causes in your citrus trees may help protect and save your valuable fruit. 

What Exactly Is Yellow Dragon Disease?

In recent news, the United States Department of Agriculture awarded over $20 million to research facilities across the United States to help find a cure for citrus greening disease. Currently, there's no known cure for yellow dragon disease, which affects over 75 percent of citrus trees in Florida and different areas of the United States. Researchers hope to find a viable cure in the near future. The best way to fight yellow dragon disease in your citrus trees is to recognize signs of the disease right away. 

Most of the signs show up in the leaves of your fruit trees before they appear elsewhere, such as inside and outside of the fruit. The leaves of infected trees develop lightly-colored spots or blotches on them that appear in different places or all over. The veins inside the leaves turn light enough to show through the surfaces of the leaves. 

The disease eventually changes the outside skin of your fruit to an unhealthy green color with or without yellow blotches. The shape of the fruit will also appear misshapen or warped. For example, one side of the fruit may be larger than the other side. The meat inside the fruit will look mottled and unappetizing. In most cases, the natural sweetness of your fruit turns bitter or sour.

If there's an active infestation of Asian citrus psyllids on the trees, you may see them on the plants' stems as small, brown adults. The adults generally lay their eggs on the baby leaves and stems of the trees. The hiding places allow the eggs to hatch into tiny, yellow nymphs. The nymphs create waxy tubules that look similar to white worms or curled pieces of thread. The tubules allow the nymphs to drain the nutrients from your trees' youngest leaves and stems as they grow and develop.

If you notice any of the signs above in your fruit trees, contact a tree service provider immediately.

Who Should You Call to Help Protect Your Fruit Trees From the Disease?

A tree service provider may offer a number of ways to control or stop the spread of citrus greening disease in your trees. Unless the disease killed your trees and you need to physically uproot and remove them, the specialists may be able to control the spread of the disease with chemical treatments. The treatments contain ingredients that attack and destroy the insects through the soil around the trees.

The service providers generally apply the treatments during certain times of the year when the roots of trees become active, such as in the fall and summer. Although the chemical treatments may work well, they may cause problems with your trees' ability to bloom and bear fruit properly. But if you choose to treat the soil yourself instead of contact tree contractors, it's important that you only apply the treatments at the right time and in the right amount to prevent damage to your trees.

In addition, the treatment methods may vary, depending on the region or state you live in. It's probably a good idea that you contact a service provider for help instead of tackling the problem on your own. The contractors may also offer biological control treatments, such as employing ladybugs, tiny wasps and other predators of the Asian citrus psyllids around your trees.

To have your fruit trees inspected and treated, contact a tree service company, such as Smitty's Tree Service Inc, for an appointment.