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Plaquemines Parish Citrus Survey Begins
October 20, 2014
Baton Rouge, La. (October 20, 2014) – Today, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) began surveying citrus trees in Plaquemines Parish.
“We’re looking for 13 different citrus pests and diseases with a focus on citrus greening, citrus canker and the Asian citrus psyllid insect that carries citrus greening disease, said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
The insect and both diseases are known to occur in limited areas of the state. LDAF’s focus on Plaquemines Parish is in response to the significant citrus nursery stock and citrus fruit production in that parish.
Two full-time survey personnel will be conducting door-to-door inspections through next summer, looking for citrus trees. The survey will begin in the southernmost part of the parish and will move northward toward Belle Chasse. All residential and commercial properties in the parish will be checked for affected citrus. Surveyors will be easily identified, with a LDAF vehicle, ID badge and shirt.
“Citrus trees found on a property will be inspected. If any pests or diseases are suspected, then a plant sample will be collected,” added Strain.
If property owners with citrus trees are not at home, a door hanger will be left notifying the owner that the LDAF inspected accessible trees and collected a plant sample, if warranted. Trees that are not accessible will not be inspected but the property owner will be asked to contact the LDAF to arrange for an inspection of those trees. The goal of the survey is to determine whether these pest problems are present in the parish, posing a threat to the citrus industry.
Citrus is approximately a $10 million industry in Louisiana.
The LDAF established a quarantine effective November 24, 2013 which restricts movement of citrus trees, citrus nursery stock and citrus plant parts from parishes where plant diseases called citrus greening and citrus canker and the insect called Asian citrus psyllid have been confirmed.
Quarantined areas for citrus greening include Orleans and Washington parishes. Quarantined areas for Asian citrus psyllid include the entire state of Louisiana for interstate movement of regulated materials unless properly treated. Quarantined areas for citrus canker include all of Orleans Parish and portions of Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes.
LDAF horticulture officials say citrus greening renders the fruit unmarketable and ultimately causes the death of infested plants. Asian citrus psyllid insects move citrus greening from one plant to another. Citrus canker causes premature leaf and fruit drop, twig dieback and tree decline. It is spread by wind-driven rain or through the movement of infected citrus plants. The disease can also be moved on contaminated yard equipment, tools and clothing.
Fruit from affected trees does not pose a public health issue and is safe to eat.
For more information on the diseases, the insect or the restrictions, contact the LDAF Horticulture and Quarantine Programs office at (225) 952-8100 or go to www.ldaf.la.gov.