• blossom blight;
  • Citrus sinensis ;
  • Colletotrichum acutatum ;
  • logistic model;
  • spread of inoculum

Citrus postbloom fruit drop (PFD) is caused by Colletotrichum acutatum and C. gloeosporioides. These pathogens attack the flowers and cause premature fruit drop and the retention of fruit calyces. This study was designed to characterize the spatial and temporal dynamics of PFD in commercial citrus-growing areas to better understand the disease spread. Experiments were carried out in three young orchards (500 trees each) in two municipalities in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Symptoms of PFD on the flowers and presence of persistent calyces were assessed in each of three orchards for three years. Logistic, Gompertz and monomolecular models were fitted to the incidence data over time from the trees with symptoms. The spatial pattern of diseased trees was characterized by a dispersion index and by Taylor′s power law. An autologistic model was used for the spatiotemporal analysis. The logistic model provided the best fit to the disease incidence data, which had a fast progress rate of 0·53 per day. During the early epidemic of PFD, the spatial pattern of diseased trees was random, which suggested that inoculum spread was due to mechanisms other than rain splash. As the disease incidence increased (up to 12·6%), the spatial pattern of diseased trees became aggregated. The rapid rate of disease progress and the distribution of PFD suggest that dispersal of the pathogen is possibly related to a mechanism other than splash dispersal, which is more typical of other fruit diseases caused by Colletotrichum spp.