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Officials confirm presence of HLB in California's Riverside County

According to the California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, state and federal officials recently confirmed the presence in Riverside County, the state’s historic home of citrus, of Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, a deadly disease for citrus plants that can be transmitted from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the USDA confirmed the HLB find. The disease was detected in a CDFA sample collected July 10 from a grapefruit tree in a residential neighborhood in the city of Riverside. The disease devastates citrus and closely related species.

In cooperation with the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and USDA, CDFA has begun an extensive survey and treatment program. Crews will remove and dispose of the infected tree and are preparing to treat citrus trees within 800 feet for ACP infestations. Taking these steps will remove a critical reservoir of the disease and vectors that can spread the disease, an essential tactic in protecting nearby citrus.

The find does not immediately affect the state’s major commercial citrus production areas. However, Riverside has a storied history of citrus production and is home to California Citrus State Historic Park, which preserves the cultural landscape of the citrus industry and tells the story of the industry’s role in the history and development of California. Though not affected by this HLB quarantine, the historic park and all citrus throughout Riverside are threatened by any presence of the disease.

“The discovery of this disease means all citrus trees are at risk — including homegrown trees enjoyed by residents and thousands of acres of trees cared-for by citrus farmers,” said Ruben Arroyo, Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer. “It’s important for residents, growers, and agricultural officials to work together to quickly find this disease and stop its spread. I encourage everyone to visit CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org to review symptoms of the disease and report disease sightings.”

A quarantine will be established in the area where HLB was detected. The quarantine prohibits the sale of all host nursery stock and the movement of all host plants and fruits within a five-mile radius of the find, and applies to residents and commercial operations alike.

Publication date: 8/8/2017


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