Georgia Citrus Industry Grows While HLB Looms

Georgia citrus industry

Georgia Citrus Industry Grows While HLB Looms

Georgia may be famous for its peaches, but its citrus industry is growing.

Huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening disease, is a disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. This sap sucking bug feeds on the stems and leaves of citrus and can carry the bacteria that causes the disease. Recent surveys have revealed citrus greening is spreading in Georgia, surprisingly, the citrus industry has not seen a decline in production. Industry leaders are so optimistic about the future of citrus in Georgia that the president of the Georgia Citrus Association, Lindy Savelle, has said she believes the state’s citrus industry will double before 2021. By the end of 2020, Savelle expects there to be 2,000 acres of citrus planted across Georgia, which will be approximately 200,000 trees.

Currently, only about 25 percent of counties in Georgia are growing citrus. The bulk of the variety being grown is satsuma oranges. These are cold-tolerant, easy to peel and seedless.

USA Quarantine for Asian Citrus Psyllid and Citrus Greening Disease

Citrus Greening Disease in Georgia

Georgia’s first case of citrus greening disease was detected in a residential citrus tree near Savannah in 2008. The following year, the state was put under quarantine for both HLB and the Asian citrus psyllid. Before 2019, HLB had only been detected in two counties in Georgia: Camden and Chatham. In 2019, 11 counties were surveyed for the presence of citrus greening. Four of these counties tested positive for the disease, with three counties being new detections: Bryan, Lowndes and Pierce.

While Georgia’s citrus trees are still widely untouched by HLB, it is important to bring a solution to market to keep the Georgia citrus industry prospering. Learn more about how MitoGrow is working to stop the spread of HLB by clicking here.

Georgia citrus industry
Image Source: UGA CAES News
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