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Don’t transport citrus due to highest-ever threat of deadly HLB disease

Don’t transport citrus due to highest-ever threat of deadly HLB disease

In the last year, the devastating citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) was found in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, increasing the HLB quarantine area by 47%. This means the disease (which was detected in a residential citrus tree in Lakewood) is spreading to new areas. 

Visit the California Citrus Threat website for more information on the disease and how to inspect your own trees. For what to expect when an agricultural official visits your property, see the flyer at www.lakewoodcity.org/Citrus.  

You can also contact the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner's office for assistance at (626) 575-5471. 

An insect called the Asian citrus psyllid spreads the disease as it feeds on leaves. The main way the psyllid spreads throughout the state is by people transporting infested plants or plant material.  

When traveling this summer, do not transport citrus tree material. Currently, more than 1,000 square miles in the Southern California communities of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties are in an HLB quarantine area. 

Once a tree is confirmed with the disease, it will die and must be removed to limit its spread. To protect other trees, be sure to dry out citrus clippings and double bag them before removing the plant material from your property.

Lakewood residents can play a critical role in stopping the spread of HLB by searching for signs of the pest and disease on their citrus trees, which include:
•blotchy or yellowing leaves
•yellow shoots
•lopsided, small and bitter fruit
•premature and excessive fruit drop 

If you see suspicious symptoms of HLB, act quickly and call the state of California’s free hotline: 800-491-1899.

HLB can affect all citrus trees, including orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, pomelo, kumquat, grapefruit, tangerine and more. If you have any of these plants in your backyard, inspect them monthly, or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees. 

If you spot psyllid insects, visit your local nursery or garden center to get advice on products that can protect your tree. 

You can also obtain citrus care advice at the University of California Extension IPM website at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/. Taking proper care of your citrus trees will encourage healthy citrus growth and protect the tree from HLB.

California residents should only purchase citrus trees from reputable, licensed nurseries in your area.

Citrus is part of our lives every day, and now is the time to protect our citrus heritage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We9UPX153eA