The San Diego County Agriculture department is requesting growers that have abandoned a citrus or avocado grove to continue monitoring the trees for pests.
Many growers in North County San Diego have withdrawn from growing these fruits because of high irrigation costs. The irrigation costs soared in the recent years causing farmers in Valley Center to stop tending to their groves.
However, the surplus of rain in San Diego County has allowed the trees to continue producing fruit, thus attracting pests. Authorities confirm that perpetually monitoring the fruit trees will help prevent huanglongbing, a citrus-killing disease, from harming the county’s $78 million citrus crop.
The disease was discovered in Hacienda Heights last week prompting officials to quarantine 93 square miles of Los Angeles & Orange Counties. Asian citrus psyllids are the pests spreading the bacteria that cause huanglongbing. The disease is bacterial and attacks the vascular system of plants but there is no known threat to humans or animals.
San Diego residents are encouraged to occasionally inspect any citrus or avocado trees in their yards for pest activity. It is recommended to not remove any fruits affected by the disease, although it may be processed and cleaned on site.
Contact the California Department of Food & Agriculture’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899 if there is evidence of huanglongbing.