The damage that HLB has inflicted on Florida citrus groves and production over the past 18 years should serve as a warning for California producers, California’s Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) stated recently. CPDPP noted that with HLB detected in thousands of California residential trees, it’s important for commercial growers to take steps to prevent the disease.
According to CPDPP, the best way to prevent HLB from infecting groves is to limit populations of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). While HLB has not yet been detected in a commercial citrus grove, it has been found in more than 5,000 residential citrus trees throughout areas of Southern California. It’s more important now than ever for California’s citrus-growing operations to actively participate in local, area-wide or coordinated treatments or use ACP-effective materials whenever possible.
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) is working diligently to connect with homeowners throughout the state. CPDPD is surveying host plants, treating areas impacted by ACP and HLB, and is removing infected trees in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, but the work can’t be done solely by the CPDPD.
To best protect citrus trees, the program encourages all growers throughout California to invest in whatever means necessary to keep groves producing a bountiful harvest for years to come. It is important to connect with your local grower liaison, pest control district or view the treatments schedules on CitrusInsider.org for details on treatments in your area, as the preferred timing of treatments will vary per region.
Additional voluntary steps can be found on Citrus Insider’s Voluntary Best Practices Guide. The cost to manage the ACP is far less than any potential costs or loss to the industry should HLB take hold throughout California.
For more information on ACP treatments and effective materials, see this University of California web page. If you suspect ACP or HLB in your grove, notify the California Department of Food and Agriculture Pest Hotline at 800-491-1899.
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