Abandoned Citrus Groves Can Become Breeding Grounds for Asian Citrus Psyllid

Dec 16, 2016

The following is an update from the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Citrus Insider

Abandoned and neglected groves become a breeding ground for the Asian citrus psyllid if they are left untreated or are not removed. Efforts to identify and address these citrus groves in California continue to be an important part of psyllid control programs.

San Bernardino County agriculture officials have been actively addressing the problem in the region and to date, 16 abandoned commercial citrus groves covering 233 acres have been discovered. According to an article in The Sun, the property owners have begun a treatment schedule.

The San Bernardino County agricultural commissioner's office has set up a link on its website to help area residents report abandoned and neglected groves. The link can be found at: http://cms.sbcounty.gov/Portals/13/Forms/AbandonedCitrusReportingForm.pdf. If you spot an abandoned grove in the region, please alert the agricultural commissioner's office or fill out the online form.

Tree Removal Program

According to California Citrus Mutual (CCM), seven acres of abandoned citrus trees in an Asian citrus psyllid infested area of Nipomo were removed last week as part of the CCM- and Bayer-led Abandoned Citrus Tree (ACT) Removal Program. Cressida Silvers, Grower Liaison for the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties alerted CCM about the property. The property owner recently removed ten acres of citrus, but due to financial hardship, was unable to remove the remaining citrus trees or properly treat them for the psyllid, posing a significant threat to the surrounding citrus groves.

When the first ten acres were removed, the property owner noticed an instant increase in pest activity on the posted yellow sticky traps. CCM was able to quickly contract with a local tree removal service to have the trees removed prior to the upcoming area-wide sprays, ensuring any pest movement caused by uprooting the trees will be addressed immediately.

To date, 309 of a reported 420 residential trees have been removed under the ACT program and the remaining 111 abandoned citrus trees are in the process of being removed. The program has also received reports for 158.3 commercial acreage. Forty-seven of these acres have now been removed thanks to the efforts this week in Nipomo.

For more information about the Asian citrus psyllid, read the Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing Disease Pest Note.

By Anne Schellman
Author - UCCE Master Gardener Coordinator