(June 3) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — One day after having found a second residential property in Brevard County to have four trees infected with citrus canker, state agriculture officials confirmed a case of the bacterial disease on a tree in a commercial grove in Highlands County.

The second case, identified as A-strain canker, was found June 1 in a 13,000-acre grove owned by Tampa-based Lykes Citrus Management, Tampa, said Liz Compton, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture.

“It was found through a routine survey, and we’re still surveying the grove,” Compton said June 3. “We’ve gone about 500 acres and haven’t found any more.”

The discovery came two weeks after confirmation came that a dozen trees within a 50-acre block of hamlin oranges in Cornwell, also in Highlands County, were infected with canker. The Highlands County discoveries have been the northernmost progression of the disease into commercial groves, according to state agriculture officials.

The Brevard County case, at a private residence, set off a survey of the surrounding area by state and U.S. agriculture department officials to determine if any additional infection is in the area. The infected trees, found by federal inspectors during routine survey, were subsequently destroyed.

The USDA has an ongoing sentinel survey program, which involves checking pre-selected, highly susceptible citrus trees for canker on a routine basis. The USDA was in the process of expanding the sentinel survey in that area when the four infected trees were found. Two other sentinel properties within a quarter-mile of the infected property have been inspected three times in the past year, including April, turning up no indication of canker.

The trees are located in a residential area west of I-95, approximately 37 miles north of the previous find in Palm Bay. The closest commercial citrus is a 3-acre grove approximately 2.5 miles southeast of the infected property.

The four trees include one mandarin, two grapefruit and one lemon tree. The property owner has signed a waiver allowing the removal of the infected trees and 21 exposed trees. Survey crews have begun inspecting citrus trees in the area starting from the find and will be working their way out approximately five square miles. An investigation into how the infection got into the area is under way.

The struggle against canker is winnable, if costly, said Richard Kinney, executive vice president of Florida Citrus Packers Inc., Lakeland.

“We know we can eradicate canker in commercial groves; the regimen works,” he said. “But it’s an expensive program. We have to go to appropriators with hat in hand. You wear out our welcome a little bit.”

Kinney said the state had spent nearly $500 million in the fight against citrus canker.

“We’re still firm in our resolve to eradicate it from our industry,” he said.