New Citrus PSA Shows Homeowners HLB Threat
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
Without the involvement and aid of backyard citrus growers to prevent the spread of the invasive Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the citrus-deadly Huanglongbing (HLB) disease vectored by the ACP, consumers would no longer have the opportunity to enjoy fresh citrus. “Deadly Plant Disease Threatens California Citrus,“ the newest public service announcement (PSA) from California Citrus Pest Disease and Prevention Program (CCPDPP) conveys this message to residential citrus growers, according to Joel Nelsen, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) president, in order to keep all citrus safe from HLB.
Nelsen said the citrus PSA announcement “shows a family in the backyard barbequing and doing what families do on a weekend.” They walk over to their row of three citrus trees in the backyard when an orange falls off the tree and disappears, followed by the disappearance of all three trees. Nelsen said the PSA zeros in on the family members’ confusion at the disappearance of the oranges and the trees, all associated with the HLB infection.
CCPDPP’s new PSA is a way for homeowners to understand the importance of keeping citrus safe from HLB, said Nelsen, ”because as much as they’re emotionally tied to their trees, so are the growers in our industry. We don’t want to see anyone’s tree get eliminated because of HLB.”
Prevent HLB; Check Your Citrus Trees for Asian Citrus Psyllid
In a new four-minute video, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) scientists encourage California farmers and home citrus growers to check new growth on their citrus trees for Asian citrus psyllid infestation. As ACPs spread Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, a serious, incurable threat to both the citrus industry and backyard citrus trees, scientists aim to minimize the ACP population until researchers find a cure.
A flush of new leaf growth on citrus trees announces spring in California. The emergence of feathery light green leaves is particularly attractive to Asian citrus psyllids (ACP), signaling a critical time to determine if the trees are infested with ACPs.
“We encourage home citrus growers and farmers to go out with a magnifying glass or hand lens and look closely at the new growth,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) citrus entomologist. “Look for the various stages of the psyllid – small yellow eggs, sesame-seed sized yellow ACP young with curly white tubules, or aphid-like adults that perch with their hind quarters angled up.
Pictures of the ACP and its life stages are on the UC ANR website. Call the California Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Exotic Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899 with any findings.
The UC ANR ACP website provides help in finding the pest and taking action.
(Source: UC ANR)