What is in this article?:
- ACP-HLB continue to force citrus nurseries indoors
- Fallen citrus acreage
- Fighting the threat
- Growing citrus plants in approved protective structures is becoming an economical and regulatory mandate to protect the industry from insidious pests and diseases.
- The top pest and disease which threatens worldwide citrus production is the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing disease.
- “HLB is not just one of the most devastating citrus diseases; it is the most devastating disease."
Asian citrus psyllid
Fighting the threat
“We have to partner,” El-Lissy said. “We must have a solid way to coordinate, communicate, leverage resources, and pull everything together to handle the disease in the most effective and practical manner. Everyone is pooling resources to move us forward to deal with the disease.”
Nationwide, the short-term strategy is to slow the spread of ACP and HLB from infested areas to healthy areas, and to suppress the ACP.
California’s offensive includes routine inspections of 47,000 yellow panel sticky traps, 6,000 visual tree inspections, and testing 15,000 plant tissue samples. Traps are placed in a project area at a density of 100 traps in the core and 50 traps per square mile in the surrounding eight square miles of an ACP find.
Within 400 meters of an ACP find, citrus trees and host plants are treated with a foliar application of the insecticide Tempo which kills the ACP. The host tree or plant is also soil drenched with the systemic insecticide Merit to protect against psyllids over an extended period.
El-Lissy says the protection of foundation citrus nursery stock is critical for the long-term health and survival of the citrus industry. Part of the solution is a clean nursery stock network.
“The citrus nursery stock sector is the foundation of which the citrus industry is based,” El-Lissy said. “If the nursery stock system gets HLB then you lose the whole system. We need rules in place that are effective, efficient, but yet practical to safeguard the nursery stock system.”
APHIS regulations will require U.S. citrus nursery stock production in a pest-exclusion area screen house designed to prevent pest and disease penetration. The screen size must be 0.3 square millimeters or less in size. Each protective screen facility will be inspected.
El-Lissy says the long-term solution to HLB will involve a national coordination of research aimed in part at breeding HLB-resistant plant cultivars.