How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Lemon Sieve Tube Necrosis

(Reviewed 9/08, updated 9/08)

In this Guideline:


Lemon sieve tube necrosis is an inherited disorder of lemon trees in coastal areas. Eureka budlines and Frost Lisbon lemons are affected. In some areas the disease is less severe, and in the San Joaquin and Coachella valleys, lemon sieve tube necrosis does not result in noticeable decline.

Trees with lemon sieve tube necrosis go through a cyclic decline. About 4 or 5 years after planting, the older food-conducting sieve tubes near the bud union die. Several years later, younger sieve tubes also die, severely restricting food transport to the roots. Many feeder roots die, fruit ripen prematurely, shoots grow poorly, and some leaves turn yellow and drop. The dieback stimulates new cambium and phloem production, and the tree recovers temporarily. Once the new sieve tubes also become necrotic, the decline process starts again. Only a microscopic analysis can reveal the collapsed sieve tubes.


Only certain budlines are affected by this inherited disorder. Eureka lemons that have this disorder could potentially die in 8 to 15 years. Before planting this variety, obtain the most recent recommendations from your farm advisor.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Citrus
UC ANR Publication 3441


  • J. E. Adaskaveg, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside
Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:
  • J. A. Menge, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside
  • H. D. Ohr, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   Contact webmaster.