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Six Tips to Halt the Spread of Citrus Disease

If you are a resident of Glendale or Southern California and have a backyard citrus tree, your tree may be in danger due to a fast-spreading plant disease. This disease, called Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease, won’t harm humans, but kills citrus trees and has no cure. The disease, caused by a tiny insect no bigger than a grain of rice, can have devastating effects both on your own citrus trees and devastating consequences for California citrus.

The effort to save California’s citrus trees is being led by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, an initiative funded by California citrus growers and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The partnership was designed to combat serious pests and diseases that threaten the state’s citrus trees. As part of this effort to stop HLB, the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program has created a website with useful tips for spotting HLB and stopping it before it spreads.

Following these best practices will help save your citrus tree and limit the spread of HLB.

  1. Inspect trees for the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing monthly, and whenever watering, spraying, pruning, or tending trees. If you spot the pest or disease, call: 800-491-1899. Psyllids are most noticeable when new leaves are growing on the tips of the branches.

  2. As part of your tree care, visit your local nursery or garden center to get advice on products that can help protect your citrus tree.

  3. Do not move citrus plants, foliage, or fruit into or out of your area, and especially across state or international borders. This could unknowingly contribute to spread of the pest and disease.

  4. When planting a new citrus tree, be sure to get your tree from a reputable, licensed nursery in your local area.

  5. When grafting citrus trees, only use registered budwood that comes with source documentation, such as the budwood offered through the Citrus Clonal Protection Program

  6. Be sure to dry out citrus tree clippings or double bag them before removing the plant material from the property.

The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program also released a helpful video PSA explaining the danger of HLB and its effect on local and statewide citrus trees.

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