Agriculture was a mainstay of the Escondido economy from the late 19th century through the 1950’s. As Escondido grew, agriculture became less visible, but still has remained a significant part of our economy.  Now a new disease is threatening California’s citrus industry, as well as our much-loved backyard citrus trees. 

The Asian citrus psyllid (a tiny brown insect that showed up in Florida in 1998) is spreading throughout California and it can carry a tree disease called Huanglongbing (HLB). While not harmful to humans or pets, once a citrus tree is infected with HLB, there is no cure and it will die. The best way to protect citrus trees from the disease is to control the psyllid population. 

You can help protect your backyard citrus trees, and the California citrus industry, by: 

  • Inspecting citrus trees for signs of the pest and disease each month or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees.
  • Calling the California Department of Food & Agriculture hotline at 1-800-491-1899 if any suspicious pests or symptoms of HLB are found. 
  • Not bringing any plant material into California from other states or countries and not moving citrus plants out of quarantined areas, because they might be carrying psyllids or be infected with HLB.
  • Only buying citrus trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
  • Drying or double bagging plant clippings before placing in green waste recycle bins to avoid moving psyllids and HLB-infected plant material. 

A brief presentation on this threat will be given at the September 14 City Council meeting or you may visit www.CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org for more information.