November 7, 2022
Grown in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, rich in Mexican-Texas culture, traditions, and foods, citrus fruits are an integral part of our daily lives. But I didn’t know the disease was threatening citrus production. That changed this summer. As a communications intern, I had the opportunity to shadow employees in his APHIS’s Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). CHRP is responsible for investigating and regulating invasive pests and diseases that harm citrus crops.
- Citrus Black Spot (CBS)
- Citrus plantain (ACP)
- Citrus canker (CC)
- Yellow Dragon Ice (HLB)
- Sweet Orange Scab (SOS)
- Citrus leprosy (CiLV)
- Citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC)
At the CHRP office in Edinburgh, Texas, I met Plant Health Conservation Specialist Emma Perez. “Our primary goal is to prevent disease from entering and spreading into the Valley and impacting our commercial growth,” she said.
Texas is 3rdrd As such, CHRP is essential to protect local flora and prevent disruption to the local economy. The day I went out with his CHRP, two inspection teams were dispatched to Far, TX. The first team spoke to residents who had orange trees and asked them to test for citrus disease. Once permission was granted, plant protection and quarantine technicians and assistants looked for signs of citrus disease.
“One of the biggest obstacles is explaining the importance of preventing the spread of citrus diseases. You may be skeptical as to why you are here,” Perez continues. CHRP will ask for permission before visually inspecting citrus trees on private property. Inspectors track the information collected to help plan future inspections, including re-strategizing operations and developing inspection routes.
If the test results in suspected symptoms of citrus disease, the CHRP inspector will take a sample from the citrus tree and submit it to the laboratory for testing and confirmation. A CHRP report confirmed citrus disease to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The state is following up with residents and explaining next steps to treat citrus disease.
No one likes to lose their citrus trees, so follow these tips for citrus owners and home growers to protect your citrus in and out of Texas.
- Inspect citrus fruits regularly for disease and insects.
- Report infected plants immediately.
- Get a USDA certificate to ship citrus fruits internationally while enjoying the fruit with friends and neighbors.Citrus Contacts by State