Citrus growers get a close-up look at psyllids

10/30/2013 05:15:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Navel and mandarin grower Gary Marshburn of Orosi, Calif., said he signed up for the tour to learn more about the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB.

His orchard is an area that is under quarantine because of psyllid finds.

“We’re going to have to do certain things when it comes to harvest that are different from what we’ve done in the past,” he said.

He said he’s hopeful that together, industry and government can help keep the pests under control.

An outbreak of citrus greening disease in California’s main citrus growing areas would be “devastating,” judging from damage HLB already has caused in Florida, said Victoria Hornbaker, CDFA citrus program manager.

But she said California’s government and industry leaders learned from Florida’s experience and are “a little bit ahead of the game.”

“We were prepared for the psyllids when they got here and have a very aggressive program,” she said.

She tries to remain optimistic.

“I think there’s hope,” she said, “and I think we need to hang onto that hope and stay involved.”


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