A California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) quarantine area will be established in eastern Tulare County following the recent discoveries of six Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) in the Porterville area.

About 450 people filled a meeting room at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif., July 30 to hear state regulators explain the quarantine process and, more importantly, the impacts the quarantine will have on growing and packing operations in one of California’s richest citrus regions.

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According to the CDFA, the quarantine prohibits movement of host nursery stock from a 178-square-mile quarantine area. It requires citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to movement outside the quarantine zone, which was a provision under the regulatory restrictions placed on Tulare County after the first ACP finds last fall. An exception can be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in USDA-approved facilities designed to exclude the Asian citrus psyllid.

Included in the quarantine zone are about a dozen packing sheds and one commercial nursery. Shipment of about 70,000 citrus trees from the nursery was put on hold by the quarantine, according to Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.

A map of the quarantine area can be found online at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/maps/quarantine/3435ACP_Tulare_20130730.pdf. Important to note is that any commercial orchard operation or packing facility within the zone is either all-in, or all-out of the quarantine area. No single facility or operation is split by the quarantine boundary.

A pre-harvest spray treatment provision that was in place under the regulatory restrictions program has not been decided by regulators, according to Kinoshita.

The quarantine comes just weeks after Tulare County officials received good news. The absence of ACP discoveries in Tulare County since three were discovered in traps last fall led state officials to lift regulatory restrictions on the shipment of citrus within a small zone in Tulare County.

This news was followed within weeks by the discovery of six additional psyllids on three traps in roughly the same area of Tulare County, leading to the tougher regulatory action.

Official quarantine designation includes regulatory oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).