The discovery here last week of a bacterial disease with the potential to wipe out every citrus tree in California has federal, state and local agencies scrambling to stop its spread.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has instituted a 93-square-mile quarantine centered over the 60 Freeway and Hacienda Boulevard in Hacienda Heights.
The quarantine prohibits the removal of any citrus fruit from the property on which it is grown unless it is cleaned and commercially packed. Fruit may be processed and/or consumed on the premises.
“The success of any quarantine depends on cooperation from those affected,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the state agriculture department. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for California citrus. We urge residents in the Hacienda Heights area to do all they can to comply.”
The quarantine extends south into into Orange County, north into Baldwin Park and West Covina, west into South El Monte and Whittier and east into Walnut and Rowland Heights.
The quarantine is expected to last at least two years – the length of the latency period for the development of huanglongbing disease symptoms in an infected tree.
Read more in J.D. Velasco’s story CITRUS.