Additional surveys of potential host leaf samples will extend from the infected tree as much as 10 miles, Hawkins said. Citrus trees will receive the most attention, because the symptoms of HLB are obvious, he said.
The arrival of the psyllids in the state resulted in the industry’s committing to $15 million in increased assessments to combat the pest.
Batkin“We’re very positive here in California that we’re ahead of this thing, and we’re going to keep it out of our groves,” Batkin said. “We will have research solutions to HLB probably before it ever becomes a critical problem for California.”
The industry’s dollars have helped fund research that is beginning to pay dividends.
“The information we have leads us to believe the trees are more susceptible when they’re small, young nursery trees,” Hawkins said. “The older a tree is, the more resistant it might potentially be.”
There also are signs that HLB-positive psyllids fed on the trees as nymphs, not necessarily as adults, he said.
“But there’s still some room on the learning curve,” Hawkins said.