New study says 80 percent of Florida's citrus trees are infected with deadly greening disease


  • Photo via bdearth on Flickr
Nothing is more iconic of Florida than the orange. But, a new survey has found that this state staple is under attack.

According to ScienceDaily, Florida citrus growers say that as much as 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is taking a huge chunk out of the states nearly $11 billion citrus industry.

The survey conducted by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences last year, shows the first grower-based estimates of the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of the disease on the state's citrus operations. 

Growers say that, on average, 90 percent of their acreage had been infected, which they estimate has reduced their yields by 41 percent. 

Greening disease is a bacterial infection that starves the trees of nutrients and damages its roots, which causes the fruit produced to be small and misshapen, making them impossible to sell or juice. 

According to UF/IFAS researchers, Florida has lost about $7.8 billion in revenue, 162,200 citrus acres and 7,513 jobs to citrus greening since 2007.