This story was originally published by Modern Farmer and is republished with permission.
It starts out as unnoticeable, lying dormant for two or even four years. It’s undetectable. But slowly, the signs come out. Individual branches on a tree point to signs of a nutrient deficiency or perhaps overwatering. Branches will start to yellow and weaken, turning shriveled. Then, the fruit will turn, becoming small and refusing to ripen and, sometimes, dropping early. The fruit is safe for human consumption, but it tastes like battery acid.
And once the tree reaches that point, there’s no coming back. The tree will die within a few years no matter what intervention you try. That’s why when growers see trees infected with Huanglongbing, known as HLB or citrus greening, they immediately look to remove the tree. There’s no other option.
“We’re destroying all the trees that get infected. We’re monitoring and eradicating those where we can. We’re using biological controls with the loss. We’re using every t... Read more