Once a tree is severely infected with huanglongbing, it will experience premature and excessive fruit drop, like this tree in a California grove. ( Photo courtesy California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program )

The quarantined area for citrus greening disease in Texas has expanded to Brazoria and Galveston counties.

More than two dozen counties in Texas, mostly in South Texas and the Coastal Bend areas, are quarantined due to the disease, also known as huanglongbing. It is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid.

The quarantine restricts movement of plant material and all varieties that are affected by HLB, according to a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service news release.

“I think the message we want to get out to the public is that everyone needs to take precautions to prevent the spread of this disease and to report the vector psyllids when found,” Stephen Breuggerhoff, AgLife Extension horticulture agent, said in the release. “We want people to be able to identify the disease symptoms and the psyllid. Announcing the quarantine is part of that effort.” 

HLB has devastated citrus crops in Florida, and has been detected in Texas and California. 

In Texas, it was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Texas Department of Agriculture in a commercial citrus grove in Hidalgo County, in January 2012. Hidalgo and Cameron counties, the two largest citrus producing counties in Texas, were placed in quarantine for citrus in spring 2014, according to Agrilife Extension Service.
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension received more than $1.7 million from the USDA for two citrus greening projects, according to the release.

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