Months ago, the North San Diego Chapter of CRFG invited Dr. Allan Dodds (Professor and Plant Pathologist Emeritus, UC Riverside) to speak to them on Citrus Diseases at their April meeting. Only a week before his planned speech, huanglongbing was discovered in California, lending special urgency to what he had to say. You can see a video of his entire presentation on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwpsJqUA3vk. The video is well worth watching. This disease inevitably will have an impact on all of us who grow citrus.
Some highlights of the professor’s thoughts:
HLB is present in California but not known to be established, yet.
Florida will continue to take great losses (10-15% per year), and may never recover.
Genetic modification of citrus varieties for resistance to HLB is ongoing, but will take years.
In the mean time the citrus industry will need to be aggressive, with psyllid control and plant nutrition, but with increased costs.
Trees will be intensively planted on 10 year cropping cycle.
California’s excellent clean stock nursery program will be more heavily regulated, and will need to produce many more trees as replacements are needed. (Harvey Correia told us that all citrus will be required to be grown under insect screen starting Jan 1, 2013)
Backyard trees may be eliminated in commercial citrus growing areas, even though 90% of all citrus in grown in California is from backyards.