In March 2012, Huanglongbing (HLB) – a plant disease considered a death sentence for California citrus – was discovered in Los Angeles, putting homeowners on high alert. While not harmful to humans or pets, once a citrus tree is infected with HLB, there is no cure and it will die. The disease can be spread by a pest called the Asian citrus psyllid, and the pest has been found near Laguna Hills. The best way to protect citrus trees from the disease is to control the psyllid population.
· Inspect citrus trees for signs of the pest and disease each month or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees.
· Call the California Department of Food & Agriculture hotline at 1-800-491-1899 if any suspicious pests or symptoms of HLB are found.
· Don’t bring any plant material into California from other states or countries and don't move citrus plants out of quarantined areas, because they might be carrying psyllids or be infected with HLB.
· Only buy citrus trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
· Dry or double bag plant clippings before placing in green waste recycle bins to avoid moving psyllids and HLB-infected plant material.
· Cooperate with agriculture officials on detection and suppression efforts of the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB.
For more information and to find out what to look for, visit http://www.californiacitrusthreat.org/.