By Andy Nelson
Note – the USDA has declared April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month
California officials have created an education program for nurseries to control the spread of Asian citrus psyllid.
The Sacramento-based Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (a partnership including CDFA), in conjunction with the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Department of Entomology at the University of California—Riverside, has established best practices and consumer education materials for retail nurseries.
The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program will work with trade associations including the California Citrus Nursery Society, the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers and Master Nursery Garden Centers to distribute the information and offer in-person and online training programs.
“The nurseries serve as the front line when it comes to communicating with homeowners about the threat of the Asian citrus psyllid,” said Victoria Hornbaker, citrus program manager for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “They play a critical role in helping homeowners keep backyard citrus trees psyllid free, and it is imperative nurseries and garden centers throughout the state follow best management practices.”
Asian citrus psyllids are potential carriers of HLB, or citrus greening disease, which has destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of citrus in Florida and also been found in California, Arizona and Texas.
HLB has been detected just once in California — in 2012, on a residential property in Hacienda Heights.
County-wide Asian citrus psyllid quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura counties.
Some parts of Fresno, Kern, Madera, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties are also under quarantine.