Residential Citrus Tree Care
Citrus Tree Care Tips and Huanglongbing Prevention
A deadly citrus plant disease called Huanglongbing (HLB) has been found in Southern California. There is no cure for HLB. Once a tree is infected, it’s like a death sentence and it will die. Now is a critical time to protect your backyard citrus trees from HLB and the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that can spread the disease. If the HLB is not stopped, it will destroy citrus trees in residential neighborhoods and California’s commercial citrus production.
California citrus growers encourage you to help prevent the disease from spreading by caring for your citrus trees, including:
- Inspecting for signs of the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing monthly or whenever watering, spraying or pruning trees. Pest and disease management is crucial to protect not just your own tree, but also your neighbors’ trees and the state’s commercial citrus trees.
- Applying products to treat your tree for the Asian citrus psyllid. This is the best way to stop HLB – stopping the pest that can spread the disease. The University of California has recommendations for effective products you can find at your local home and garden center.
- Control for ants on your citrus tree. Ants protect harmful pests like the Asian citrus psyllid. Place ant bait around citrus trees and follow the product’s label instructions.
- Apply fertilizer, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, to soil throughout the year. Zinc or iron deficiencies can result in yellowing leaves, so monitor and apply a foliar spray of zinc or iron if needed.
- When harvesting fruit, clip off the fruit at the stem with sharp clippers. Remove leaves and stems, and wash fruit thoroughly to ensure no Asian citrus psyllids or Huanglongbing-infected plant material is spread.
- If you’re unable to care for your citrus tree, consider removing it so the tree does not become a host to the pest or disease.
Huanglongbing affects all citrus plants, including orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, pomello, kumquat, grapefruit and tangerine trees. It also affects some relatives of citrus, like orange jasmine and curry leaves. If you have any of these plants in your yard, inspect them when trees have new leaf flush, or when tending trees.
With your help, we can save California’s citrus trees.
If you think you’ve found symptoms of Huanglongbing, call the statewide hotline at 800-491-1899.
More information on Huanglongbing prevention and Asian citrus psyllid management can be found at these reliable sources:
- californiacitrusthreat.org – Information, photos and videos on ACP and HLB, including what to look for and what agriculture officials are doing to help stop the disease. Provided by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program.
- ucanr.edu – Pest management information and recommended treatments for homeowners, and a map illustrating your proximity to HLB detections. Provided by the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
- Fruit Mentor – Offers videos and tips for how to remove unloved trees or successfully graft citrus trees with budwood.
- UCR.edu – The Citrus Clonal Protection Program provides clean, registered budwood that has been tested for disease.
- cdfa.ca.gov – California Department of Food and Agriculture’s website provides statewide Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing quarantine information.
- cacitrusmutual.com – More information on California’s commercial citrus industry and the potential impact of Huanglongbing on commercial citrus. Provided by California Citrus Mutual.