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Lemon Grove Aims to Stop Spread of Dangerous Citrus Pest, Disease

The city of Lemon Grove is urging residents to be vigilant about looking for signs of the pest-- called the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

Lemon Grove officials are asking you to help them in their efforts-- along with many others in California-- to stop the spread of a dangerous citrus crop killing disease.

It's called Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as the "citrus greening disease," and is "devastating" to citrus trees, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

"The City of Lemon Grove was notified recently of a citrus tree epidemic new to California," a press release from the city's public works department.  "There is no cure and local citrus trees are at risk."

An infected tree was recently found in Los Angeles county, the department said.

The spread of HLB is by the Asian Citrus Psyllid pest that transmits the disease from tree to tree as it feeds. The pest is small and lays its eggs on young, new growth of citrus, where small, yellowish orange nymphs feed and develop. Having been new to California since 2008, the best way to protect against the epidemic of citrus is to find and stop the pest from spreading.

HLB is described by the state as "the most serious citrus plant disease in the world and once a tree is infected, there is no cure."

Diseased trees produce bitter, inedible, misshapen fruit and eventually die, officials add.

The city offered up the following ways to help stop the spread of the psyllid, and thus the disease: 

  • Inspect citrus trees monthly
  • Plant trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
  • Dry out or double bag plant clippings prior to disposal.
  • Visit your local nursery or garden center to learn what products can help protect your tree from the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

Click here to learn more about the state's efforts to keep the Asian Citrus Psyllid at bay-- and how you can spot signs of the pest on your own trees.

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