First HLB Detection in San Diego County

Len Wilcox California Corner, HLB Management

San Diego

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has declared a quarantine in north San Diego County following the detection of the citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB), known as citrus greening. The disease was found in two citrus trees on one residential property in the city of Oceanside. This is the first time the plant disease, which does not harm people but is deadly to citrus, has been detected in San Diego County. CDFA is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the San Diego County Agricultural Commissioner to contain the disease.

The HLB detection will require a mandatory 60-square-mile quarantine area around the find site to restrict the movement of citrus fruit, trees and related plant material. The quarantine area is bordered on the north by Vandergrift Boulevard at Camp Pendleton; on the south by Carlsbad Village Drive in unincorporated San Diego County; on the west by the Pacific Ocean; and on the east by Melrose Drive in Oceanside. HLB quarantine maps for San Diego County are available online here. An HLB quarantine area currently exists in parts of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where more than 2,400 trees have tested positive for the disease and have been removed.

The quarantine prohibits the movement of all citrus nursery stock or plant parts out of the quarantine area. Provisions exist to allow the movement of commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit. Fruit that is not commercially cleaned and packed must not be moved from the property on which it is grown, although it may be processed and/or consumed on the premises. This includes residential citrus.

CDFA staff are scheduling removal of the infected trees and are in the midst of surveying citrus trees in a 250-meter radius around the detection site to determine if any other trees are infected with HLB. A treatment program for citrus trees to reduce Asian citrus psyllid infestations will also be conducted within a 250-meter radius of the find site. By taking this action, a critical reservoir of the disease and its vectors will be removed, which is essential to protect surrounding citrus.

Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture

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