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Save Our Citrus

Citrus Trees: Move It AND Lose It

Soon, citrus producing states across America, including Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, will be full of fresh citrus. But gone are the days of sharing the fruit trees or seeds with friends and family out of state or even in the next county. It’s no longer as simple as packing it up and shipping it, or buying a citrus tree at a road side stand to bring home.

You’ve heard the saying “move it or lose it.” When it comes to citrus trees, it’s “Move It AND Lose It.” When you move citrus trees, you risk losing America’s citrus altogether – think breakfast with no fresh oranges, grapefruit or even juice.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year While Being Citrus Smart

Out with the snake, in with horse! January 31 marks the start of the Chinese New Year. Many people will be enjoying the rich cultural traditions of this holiday such as food, parades and exchanging gifts. One traditional Chinese New Year gift is citrus fruit, such as mandarin oranges and tangerines. This fruit is said to bring luck, wealth and prosperity.

However, without proper precautions citrus can also bring something else that may not be so favorable—the Asian citrus psyllid. This pest carries citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease threatening the commercial citrus industry and homegrown citrus trees alike. Although it is not harmful to humans or animals, the disease is fatal for citrus trees and has no known cure.

Residential Citrus Growers: Help Us Stop the Spread of Citrus Disease

If you are like millions of other Americans, there’s a chance you have a citrus tree or two growing in your yard. As a residential citrus grower, it is very important to check your trees regularly for signs of disease.

A diseased tree in your yard may seem like no big deal; however, it can easily spread disease to other nearby trees and make its way to large commercial groves where significant damage can be done. If citrus disease were to spread out of control, it has the potential to destroy the entire U.S. citrus industry, causing the loss of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

Travel Citrus Safe this Summer

With summer winding down and school starting soon, there’s just enough time for one last trip! No matter where your travels take you, be sure to bring back lots of photographs, souvenirs and memories—but one thing you don’t want to bring home with you is citrus.

Moving citrus may seem completely harmless, but it can come with huge consequences. One little tiny bug, the Asian citrus psyllid could be hiding on citrus fruit, trees, clippings or nursery stock. It can carry citrus greening disease, or Huanglong Bing (HLB), a certain death sentence for infected trees. Pests carrying the disease can spread it to healthy trees. Throughout the U.S. and abroad, millions of acres of citrus trees have already been destroyed.

Don't Go Green this Spring, Greening Disease (HLB) Kills Citrus

It’s time to grab those gloves and get outside for some gardening!  April is not only a great time to plant citrus trees, but it’s also Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Before wielding that shovel, take a few minutes to learn how to keep your trees healthy and prevent the spread of citrus disease.

Citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), is one of the most severe plant diseases in the world. The disease has devastated millions of citrus trees in the United States and now has the potential to eliminate the citrus industry.  Once a tree is infected with the disease, there is no known cure.

Five Tips for the Kickoff to Citrus Health

Ready, set, hike! With football season upon us, we want to help you “kick off” your citrus’ health. Whether you are a rookie or seasoned veteran when it comes to growing fruit, following these simple tips can help your citrus have a winning season.

1. Draft an all-pro citrus team

Dwarf varieties are often preferable for backyard growing because they take up less space, do not grow as tall, and are easier and safer to pick. When purchasing citrus trees, buying a healthy tree from a reputable seller is critical. If you are ordering a citrus tree, make sure the nursery or shipper is in compliance with federal quarantine restrictions.

Celebrate the Red, White, Blue and Orange

Keep the lemonade flowing this Fourth of July!   The stars and stripes and fireworks would not be the same without citrus--iced tea with lemon, key lime pie, lemon chiffon cake, fish with lemon, orange sorbet, lemon-garlic chicken and avocado lime salsa.  And, as the temperatures rise, kids across American set up makeshift lemonade stands as a favorite way to earn a little spending money. Take time to stop and enjoy a glass.

Make this Fourth of July a celebration of citrus’ role in this holiday’s food and culture. My hope is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to U.S. citrus so Americans can protect the refreshing flavors of summer.

Make Cinco de Mayo a “Citrus de Mayo” Celebration

This year I am encouraging everyone to make the Cinco de Mayo celebration a “Citrus de Mayo” affair by celebrating citrus’ role in the holiday’s food and culture.  My goal is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to United States citrus.

From the limes and oranges we use to marinate the carne asada, and the lime we squeeze over our guacamole and tacos to bring out the flavor, to the delicious margaritas and the lime wedges with which we top an ice-cold beer, citrus is at the center of the festive Cinco de Mayo event.

Cinco de Mayo is just not the same without citrus.  With multiple diseases affecting our citrus and the recent confirmation of citrus greening disease in California, our access to U.S.-grown citrus is under serious threat, and with it, many of the foods and festivities we enjoy.

Identify Citrus Diseases with New iPhone App

Does your citrus tree have spotted leaves or fruit with brown raised spots or small lopsided fruit?  Good news, USDA released a free Save Our Citrus iPhone app that makes it easy to identify and report the four leading citrus diseases: citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab.

In just a few steps, the Save Our Citrus app, available in English and Spanish, allows you to report the symptoms, upload a photo and receive an individual response back from citrus experts.

Individuals Across the Country Help Stop the Spread of Citrus Diseases

Thanks to everyone who reported suspected citrus disease on USDA’s updated Save Our Citrus online Report It form.  We have now received submissions from every citrus-producing state in the country.  Using this new reporting form, site visitors can compare their own citrus plants to photos of four very serious foreign citrus diseases.  If they believe their citrus is sick with citrus greening, citrus canker, sweet orange scab, or citrus black spot, they can submit a report and upload a photo in seconds.

With the rapid spread of citrus diseases, APHIS realized the need for eyes on the ground, in every backyard, and wherever citrus is grown.  Residents are the first line of defense in stopping the devastation caused by citrus diseases.