California Citrus Mutual is praising the addition of $2.5 million to the state’s budget to battle Asian citrus psyllids and the huanglongbing disease they can spread.
Citrus mutual president Joel Nelsen said the money — on top of the $15 million to $18 million growers designate for that purpose annually — helps the industry guard against the disease in commercial groves.
Although more than 200 trees in California backyards have been found with HLB, the disease has not been found in commercial groves.
“We have been lucky to date, as we were able to put a program together before the disease and the bug had a chance to gain a foothold in commercial groves,” Nelsen said in a news release on the budget addition. “Unfortunately, the disease is spreading in the backyards of Los Angeles, Orange County and locales south.”
The $2.5 million helps keep that spread in check. The industry is funding multiple efforts, including tree removal, trapping and analyzing tree material, according to the release.
Because of the number of residential trees found to be infected, the industry is also spending more than $1 million a year to educate homeowners on the problem.