florida-agriculture.com

Agriculture Press Release

April 3, 2000

Citrus Canker Quarantine Areas to Be Expanded

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford announced today the expansion of citrus canker quarantine areas in three counties as part of the ongoing effort to battle citrus canker. Following a state of emergency declared by Florida Governor Jeb Bush in February and the designation of four counties as federal disaster areas by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman in March, Crawford said that the expansion of the quarantine areas was another necessary step in halting the spread of citrus canker.

"We want to stay ahead of the spread of canker, and expanding these quarantine areas will help us do that," Crawford said. "We appreciate the cooperation of all citizens in these counties who assist us by not moving any citrus fruit or plant parts off their properties."

The current 773-square-mile Miami-Dade/Broward County quarantine area will expand to nearly 1,000 square miles, north to the Palm Beach County line and south to Florida Bay. Collier Countys quarantine area will expand westward from 43 to 77 square miles, and Hendry County will have a new quarantine area of 16 square miles. All expansions are being enacted to cover positive finds within the past few months.

People in the expanded quarantine areas must now follow a few simple guidelines to help prevent the spread of citrus canker:

  • Do not move citrus plant material in any form (fruit, leaves, stems, whole plants) from your property.
  • Do not exchange dooryard citrus fruit with anyone (e.g., neighbors, relatives, etc.). Citrus in major grocery stores comes from non-quarantine areas and does not carry canker inoculum that can spread the disease.
  • Dispose of any citrus fruit peels, uneaten citrus fruit, citrus leaves or other citrus debris that are homegrown in a doubled plastic bag.
  • Do not plant any new citrus in your yard.
  • Avoid touching (e.g., pruning, harvesting) your citrus trees during wet periods. Wash all harvested fruit and let air dry. Practice good sanitation of hands and tools; antibacterial hand soaps and antiseptic gels are both good for skin disinfection. Also, kitchen/bathroom disinfectants with quaternary ammonium chloride active ingredients are useful for equipment sanitation.
  • Avoid fertilizing trees during the wet and warm season. Fertilize moderately during late summer/early fall.
  • Residents can also help ensure that their lawn maintenance provider is not inadvertently spreading citrus canker to their trees. Lawn maintenance companies working in a quarantine zone are required to be under a compliance agreement with the state, which outlines decontamination procedures. Residents should look for a decal in the drivers side windshield of the vehicle to confirm that their lawn service provider has signed the compliance agreement. Lawn maintenance companies must decontaminate personnel and equipment when arriving at and departing homeowners properties.

Businesses working within the current citrus canker quarantine areas in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Hendry, Manatee and Hillsborough counties are already under compliance agreements with the Department. Following Commissioner Crawfords announcement earlier this week of a statewide decontamination plan (which became mandatory April 1), all businesses working in the groves and handling citrus outside of quarantine areas will also be governed by the Departments compliance agreements.

More information about citrus canker quarantine zones, maps and decontamination procedures are available on the Departments website at http://doacs.state.fl.us/~pi/canker/ or by calling the Citrus Canker Eradication Program Helpline at 1-800-850-3781.

To date, more than 200,000 residential trees and more than 300,000 commercial trees have been destroyed in the eradication effort statewide. Crawfords initiative to speed up the eradication of citrus canker includes more than $174 million in state and federal funding, tripling of personnel and cutting of trees within 1,900 feet of canker-infected trees. 

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For more information:
Liz Compton
(850) 509-4323


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