The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), on March 23, added Arizona and Florida to its federal quarantine for sweet orange scab (SOS) in citrus.

The quarantine is designed to prevent the spread of SOS.

SOS causes scab-like lesions on the rind of citrus varieties but does not damage internal fruit quality. SOS mostly impacts fruit marketability. The causal agent for SOS is Elsinoë australis.

The quarantine establishes regulations on fruit movement from quarantine areas, packinghouse procedures, citrus nursery stock movement, and approved fungicides.

The first SOS find in the United States was in residential lemon and tangerine trees in Springs, Texas in July 2010. SOS was later found in Louisiana and Mississippi.

APHIS issued a federal SOS quarantine December 2010 covering the entire states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The expanded quarantine includes Arizona and Florida.

In Arizona, APHIS confirmed SOS on fruit collected from a tangerine grove in Maricopa County on Jan. 10, 2011, and from a lemon sample from Yuma County on Feb. 23, 2011. Delimitation surveys were conducted in the state’s citrus-producing regions. SOS has only been confirmed in Maricopa and Yuma counties.

In Florida, APHIS confirmed SOS in a grapefruit tree in a campground in Polk County and from a bitter orange tree at a residence in Broward County.  SOS was also confirmed in a residential tangerine tree in Sarasota County. Subsequent surveys have positively detected SOS in Florida’s Charlotte, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Orange, Palm Beach, and Pinellas counties.

SOS has not been detected in California, the only citrus-producing state in the continental United States without the fungus.

For more information on SOS and how the quarantine will impact Arizona’s citrus industry, click on this link - http://westernfarmpress.com/orchard-crops/sweet-orange-scab-latest-hurdle-arizona-citrus.