Community Asked to Help Protect Bakersfield Citrus From Serious Threat
A dangerous pest was recently found in Tulare County. It’s called the Asian citrus psyllid, and it can be a carrier of Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. To date, HLB has not been detected in the San Joaquin Valley, but if it takes hold, it will be deadly for citrus trees in the region.
Once trees are infected with HLB, they will eventually die, threatening not only the ability of homeowners to grow citrus in their backyards, but the local economy. One of the best ways to prevent HLB from taking hold in the San Joaquin Valley, is to stop the Asian citrus psyllid, which can transmit the disease from tree to tree as it feeds.
Everyone in the region is being asked to do their part. The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program offers the following tips:
- Don’t move citrus — Do not bring any plant material into the valley from other states or countries, or from Southern California or the Central Coast. Also, if you live in the areas surrounding recent detections, do not move citrus off your property, as you may be violating restricted areas set up by agriculture authorities.
- Inspect your trees — Look for signs of the pest and disease each month or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees. Learn what to look for by visiting CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org or using the Save Our Citrus app, which can be downloaded from the website.
- Plant responsibly — Only buy citrus trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
- Graft with care — Use only registered budwood with source documentation.
- Be mindful of clippings — Dry or double bag plant clippings prior to disposal to avoid moving psyllids and HLB-infected plant materials.
- Cooperate — Cooperate with agriculture officials on detection and suppression efforts of the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB.
If you think you’ve found the psyllid or the disease, contact the local agricultural commissioner or call the California Department of Food and Agriculture hotline at 800-491-1899. Those who work in the citrus industry can learn more about the possible impacts these discoveries have on citrus operations by contacting local agriculture officials.