All citrus trees in a five-mile radius of the Hacienda Heights neighborhood are being quarantined after a deadly citrus disease was found. The quarantine process will prohibit the movement of all tree nursery stock out of the area. Only commercially cleaned citrus may leave the property on which it is picked.
CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a prepared statement. “The success of any quarantine depends on cooperation from those affected. The stakes couldn’t be higher for California citrus. We urge residents in the Hacienda Heights-area to do all they can to comply.”
This deadly citrus disease is a bacterial disease that is spread by two invasive Asian insects. It is not dangerous to humans, but it attacks the trees vascular systems, causing the trees to produce bitter, inedible fruit and then eventually kills the infected trees.
The citrus blight has been referred by multiple names including citrus greening, Huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow dragon disease and it’s one of the most deadly diseases that affects citrus plants.
California first found an Asian citrus psyllid, one of the bugs that carry the citrus disease, in 2008. The deadly citrus disease was then detected on March 30 on a lemon-grapefruit hybrid tree in Hacienda Heights.
According to Mother Nature Network, “The California citrus industry generates about $2 billion annually. The state citrus industry has been preparing for the worst, contributing $15 million a year to state and federal programs to stop the spread of the invasive insects and HLB disease.”
Ted Batkin, president of the Citrus Research Board in Visalia said, “We were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and now it’s dropped. We’ve been expecting it. But still it’s a kick in the stomach. I’m reeling. It’s real now. We’re prepared, and now we’ll put our game face on.”
Steve Lyle, the agriculture department spokesman said, “So far it’s one tree that we know of, one tree. But if we fail to control the disease, this is the moment we risk losing our citrus industry as we know it and the backyard trees we all love so much.”