NYTimes: Local Citrus Trees in Danger

The New York Times reports that a citrus disease could threaten trees across Southern California, and leads the story with an Altadena back yard citrus grower.

Back yard citrus trees in Southern California are in serious danger of dying off from citrus greening disease, according to a report in the New York Times.

The article leads with a back yard citrus grower in the San Gabriel Valley who fears the disease will destroy his trees.  A tree Hacienda Heights was found infected, the New York Times report states, and once an infection happens in the area, it spreads very quickly.

A University of California, Riverside professor told the Times that many of Southern California's large citrus trees are probably going to be lost.

The disease can be treated, according to the article, but treatment is time intensive and is more practical for commercial growers than it is for amateurs.

Click here to reader blogger and local farmer Reies Flores' post about the importance of having your citrus tree tested and treated.

While the insect that spreads the disease was first spotted in 2008, according to the Times, a story on the Growing Produce website notes that the actual disease was found for the first time in L.A County earlier this month in Hacienda Heights.

The Asian Citrus Psyllid, which carries the tree-killing disease, was spotted in Highland Park in October of 211, but no trees have been found to be infected as of yet.

According to a map on the California Department of Food Agriculture website, a quarantine on citrus trees has been established in a 93-square-mile area in southeast L.A. County, centered around Hacienda Heights. Most areas of the San Gabriel Valley and Northeast L.A. are not currently included in the quarantine area.

According to the U.S. Food and Agriculture Department website, citrus greening has harmed trees in Asia, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Brazil, and an outbreak also occurred in 2005.

Citrus owners can help work to prevent the disease by reporting any sighting of the Asian citrus psyllid, which is pictured above.  Any sightings should be reported to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

Editor's note: The original version of this story said a "tree in the area" was found infected.  To clarify, the tree was within Los Angeles County.  Its location was not named in the New York Times, but another story that was linked to in this piece sets the location as Hacienda Heights.

Shawn Richardson April 19, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Check your trees every month and get them sprayed if infested. The MSDS on the sprays show them as less harmful than organic pyrethroids. They will hit bees hard, so prune the flowers off your trees before spraying if in bloom. People think that because there is still citrus coming out of Florida, it's not a big deal. The reason there is still citrus coming out of Florida is because of massive pesticide spraying efforts. If you want to keep sustainable, organic, backyard citrus in LA, spray your tree for ACP if necessary.
Shawn Richardson April 19, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Oh, and don't get relatives or friends in other parts of the world to send you scions!!!


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