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Citrus Trees: Move It AND Lose It

Help Save Our Citrus --  visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Help Save Our Citrus -- visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Soon, citrus producing states across America, including Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, will be full of fresh citrus. But gone are the days of sharing the fruit trees or seeds with friends and family out of state or even in the next county. It’s no longer as simple as packing it up and shipping it, or buying a citrus tree at a road side stand to bring home.

You’ve heard the saying “move it or lose it.” When it comes to citrus trees, it’s “Move It AND Lose It.” When you move citrus trees, you risk losing America’s citrus altogether – think breakfast with no fresh oranges, grapefruit or even juice.

Moving citrus trees is the fastest way that citrus diseases are spread. Four serious citrus diseases found in the United States include Huanglongbing (also known as citrus greening or HLB for short), citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab. Learn more about each disease by visiting the What Are the Diseases section of the Save Our Citrus website.

When infected trees, fruit, clippings, equipment or even workers are moved to a new area, the disease comes with them. It’s not just commercial citrus that is susceptible to these diseases. Homegrown citrus trees can easily become infected and spread disease.

Move It AND Lose It: Five Things You Need to Know

  1. Be Aware of Quarantines. Knowing where quarantines are is key to preventing the spread of disease.  For example, if your county is under quarantine for both the Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening, this means that citrus cannot leave these counties. No citrus plants, fruit, equipment or items made with citrus (such as floral arrangements, wreaths, potpourri or seasonings like kaffir lime leaves) may be moved from quarantined areas. Not only are you risking spreading citrus diseases by transporting citrus outside of these areas, but it’s also against the law. Check our interactive quarantine map to learn what areas are under quarantine.
  2. Inspect Citrus Plants Regularly for Diseases and Insects. Check citrus plants for signs of Huanglongbing and other citrus diseases. If you detect an infected plant, report it immediately.
  3. Keep Homegrown Citrus at Home. Help reduce the spread of citrus diseases by not moving your homegrown citrus plants or fruits. Even if a tree looks healthy, don’t move it. This is the simplest yet most important thing for all Americans to do to protect our citrus.
  4. Check Citrus Plant Suppliers. Be a savvy buyer. Only buy citrus plants from a reputable, licensed nursery.  Commercial fruit packers, Internet shippers and roadside vendors within regulated states should be able to show that they are in compliance with the federal quarantine. Before you buy, ask the vendor if their product is in compliance. If you buy a plant that is disease-free, you’ll have a much healthier, more productive tree.
  5. Avoid Fines and Penalties. If you knowingly purchase citrus trees in violation of quarantine regulations and requirements, the penalties could range from $1,100 to $60,000 per violation. If you suspect citrus trees are being moved improperly, report your concerns to your USDA State Plant Health Director’s office; you can find contact information online at

Thank you for doing your part to stop the spread of citrus diseases. To learn more about the Save Our Citrus campaign, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Responses to “Citrus Trees: Move It AND Lose It”

  1. Duane Runciman says:

    The level of concern of Citrus Greening is reported in a number of articles, however our company (UK based – Organic chemicals) carried out 2 live psyllid trials and had 100% success on sterilising the off spring of the psyllids and yet getting the research people to give us the time of day is near on impossible. This is ridiculous to think of the millions of your tax payer $$ being spent on various research and we have something worth pursuing but because we are not a US based research institute we don’t get the time of the day. We spent a mere 4,000 GBP studying this with a fully safe / non toxic / organic product and had 100% success in controlling the spreading agent using the same vector (what more could you want than spreading of clean insects to breed out the bacteria) and no one pays 1 iota of attention …shame on the Citrus Grower research organisations and your government agencies. We will keep pursuing this as it is a clean, organic and sustainable solution worth further study to prove the point.

  2. Deb Gateley says:

    What about the spread of disease by mail? Years ago, mail processing plants had Ag dept inspection stations. There seems to be no inspections any longer. I work inside a post office in the central valley of CA, and customers are continually mailing citrus in our flat rate boxes to all corners of the US. I try to dissuade them, but I’m the only one it seems. Can the postal service get some back up on not mailing backyard fruit? USPS should be adhering to Ag restrictions, but the rules are very unspecific. Thank you

  3. John E Burchard says:

    This is antique (it’s now September 2016). What is the current status? I live in the Central Valley of California (I’m a Water District general manager) and in this immediate area we have no citrus (too cold in winter on the valley floor, citrus are on the slopes). We have alfalfa and (now, all of a sudden) pistachios. Nowhere near enough water to support all that – but that’s a different rant. I would be interested in growing kaffir limes for leaves and perhaps fruit – and also curry tree leaves. How to get uninfected plants?

  4. Dan c. says:

    Love citrus trees. They’ve always been so easy to grow. In Socal we get from

  5. Organic Trees says:

    I love Citrus trees. Citrus trees should be planted in a sunny and wind-protected area.Trees can be planted at any time duration. However, spring is the best time.To treat infected area, Clean-up and remove all leaf debris under the tree. Prune the lower branches from the tree, those that are more than 2 feet from the ground. Then spray with a fungicide such as Agri-Fos or Captan.

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