A few days ago Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as the Citrus Greening Disease, was detected in Colton, prompting a 5-mile radius quarantine that affects at least four Redlands groves. If untreated it could devastate citrus growers, said the California Department of Food and Agriculture during a public meeting held on Monday, Feb. 3, at the Redlands Council Chambers.
Representatives from the San Bernardino County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures were also present to discuss processes for growing, harvesting and moving citrus inside the quarantine boundary.
The disease is is hosted by a tiny insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, which can transfer the disease from tree to tree as the insect feeds on citrus leaves. The psyllid has been found in groves all over Southern California, including commercial groves. Just having the psyllid in the tree does not mean the tree is diseased, however. There is hope if the psyllid can be eradicated from backyards.
“If we don’t take care of it there is a risk of a wide area being impacted,” Sharma said. Everybody has to participate in the effort to stop the spreading. Florida has lost nearly 50 percent of its citrus production due to HLB — that’s how serious this is.”
The Redlands groves affected are Palmetto Grove, Mountain View, Interstate 10 and the Gateway Grove, said representatives of Redlands’ Facilities and Community Services. A commercial citrus grove is defined as any parcel with 25 or more citrus trees. Fruit harvested from city groves within the quarantine area can still be packed and sold but must undergo additional treatment.