Los Angeles County backyard trees need to be checked for HLB

Horticultural technicians, dispatched by California’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division, are hunting for trees infected with citrus greening disease, a contagious bacterial disease pulsing through Los Angeles County. The bacterium that causes citrus greening disease won’t harm humans. But if left unchecked, it could wipe out the entire country’s supply of citrus fruits.

Ten years ago in Florida, citrus greening disease (also called Huanglongbing or yellow dragon disease) tore through commercial groves and slashed commercial orange yield by 70 percent. It gained its foothold by spreading through the backyards of citrus hobbyists, tree by domesticated tree. A similar story played out decades ago in China, where the disease was first named; in Brazil in 2004; and in Texas in 2012. The nimble bug continues to infiltrate groves in these far-flung locations. For growers, it’s a constant fight.

Now, in Southern California, about 2,300 infected citrus trees have been discovered and destroyed. “The clock is ticking as to when infected trees in commercial groves will be found,” says California grower John C. Gless of Gless Ranch Inc. With modern science, though, Californians have a chance to write a different story.

Source: slate.com

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