Calif. citrus farmers fear tree-killing disease

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on October 8, 2009 at 5:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 8 at 5:03 AM

ORANGE COVE, Calif. (AP) — Central California citrus growers are getting ready to fight for their livelihoods, after a pest that can carry a disease fatal to lemon and orange trees was spotted closer than ever before to their crops.

The feared infestation of the fruit-fly-sized Asian citrus psyllid (SIH'-lihd) has farmers putting screens around their seedlings, vigorously inspecting their mature trees and taxing themselves to fund research to stop the insect.

The psyllid, which can carry so-called citrus greening disease, was spotted in August in Los Angeles, about 160 miles away from the central California farms where the state's $1.6 billion citrus-growing industry is concentrated.

California growers and agricultural officials are worried the state's citrus industry could be crippled by citrus greening, which has already devastated Florida's citrus crops.

Print
Email
|