First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Confirmed in Alabama

First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Confirmed in Alabama

A scourge that has ravaged Florida’s citrus industry for more than a decade appears to have finally found its way to Alabama as federal and state plant health officials have confirmed the identification of citrus greening (aka, HLB) in leaf and insect samples from a residential property on Dauphin Island in Mobile County.

Citrus greening and psyllids

Photo by Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS

This is the first confirmation of HLB in Alabama despite biannual surveys for the pathogen by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). The ADAI, along with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection, will be conducting a delimiting survey to determine the extent that the pathogen may have spread.

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ADAI surveillance teams will take additional samples for testing, survey the area around the site and gather data on the tree’s history, if possible. In addition, outreach and education to nurseries, plant dealers, and citrus hobbyists will be conducted.

Officials have begun the process to halt the movement of citrus plants from the area. With the confirmation of citrus greening in Dauphin Island, federal plant officials will seek to establish a citrus greening quarantine in Mobile County. Alabama agriculture officials have indicated that the state intends to take action to establish a parallel quarantine.

The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) — HLB’s vector — was found in Baldwin County, AL, in 2008, but no citrus greening bacteria was detected, even though molecular analysis of insects collected in the area was conducted. The discovery of psyllids in 2008 led to federal and state ACP quarantines of the entire State of Alabama in 2009.

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Wayde says:

Outreach and education to nurseries, plant dealers, citrus hobbyists, abandoned groves, alternative host plants, and transplanted Yankees should have been on Adam Putnam’s mind, as is being done in CALIFORNIA, long before he decided to run for Governor.

Michael says:

You missed this in the article “The discovery of psyllids in 2008 led to federal and state ACP quarantines of the entire State of Alabama in 2009”. Adam Putnam has been the secretary of Florida department of agriculture since 2011.

Ron says:

Wayde, what’s being done in California is due to what they’ve learned FROM Florida’s Dept. of Agriculture and Florida growers. When the first Psyllids were found and when the first evidence of HLB was found, there was a tremendous ‘outreach’ effort to all the nurseries & growers – of course, that was before Commissioner Putnam was heading of FDACS. It was then led by Charles Bronson. FDACS has been at the forefront, under both Commissioners Bronson and Commissioner Putnam, of the HLB issue in Florida.

Wayde says:

You trollers take up for him all you want. Until 2 years ago, I had one of the few remaining psyllid/ hlb free groves in the state.
My letters and calls to him and many other regulatory officials have brought ZERO response to the abandoned grove less than a mile away. I hand hand delivered a letter to Gov. Scott asking for help. No response from him, either, except his word that he would read it.
The “too big to fail” groves and the overresponse to canker, and Adam Putnam’s lack of leadership is what decimated our industry.
Are you going to sit here and say he didn’t know 8 years ago that a psyllid could travel a mile a day? I sure did.
If you can understand that, you can understand that HLB is on the way. DUH!!