California Growers Reminded to Stay Alert

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, HLB Management

California

Jim Gorden, chair of the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC), is greatly concerned about the increase in sporadic Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) detections across California. Gorden sent an open letter to all citrus growers asking them to increase their vigilance against the pest and the risk of citrus greening, known as HLB disease.

He said that “While the citrus industry’s efforts have thus far kept huanglongbing (HLB) out of commercial groves, these recent ACP detections are a reminder that we cannot let our guard down. The most effective way to prevent the spread of HLB is to keep psyllids out of our orchards.”

After ACP detections in multiple counties (Kern, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Tulare, Contra Costa and others) were confirmed earlier this fall — including areas with historically low ACP activity — the CPDPC is encouraging all growers to stay informed, scout for ACP and treat when advised.

The letter said that “recommendations outlined in the Voluntary Grower Response Plan, developed collaboratively by growers and scientists, represent the most effective tools known to the citrus industry at this time and are meant to supplement the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s required regulatory response. You can help prevent the spread of ACP by following these best practices, participating in recommended winter treatments and ensuring haulers and transporters are tarping loads.

“While we should expect to see this type of ‘flare up’ occasionally, we need to remain vigilant – even when things are quiet – to ensure we continue to stay on top of this elusive pest and the dangerous disease it spreads. The upfront cost to manage ACP is much less than the potential hit to our industry if HLB spreads throughout the state. To date, HLB has only been identified in backyard citrus trees … and hasn’t made its way into a commercial citrus grove yet. To keep HLB out of commercial citrus, psyllid control is especially critical this season with warmer weather encouraging more pests.”

The letter advises growers to:

  • Follow the best practices outlined in the Voluntary Grower Response Plan for Huanglongbing
  • Participate in treatment strategies recommended by the University of California
  • Adhere to tarping regulations that help keep pests from hitching a ride to new areas of the state

Visit citrusinsider.org for more information.

Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee

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