Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is expanding the area quarantined for citrus canker in Texas to include portions of Harris, Fort Bend, and Cameron Counties to prevent the spread of the disease to other states. APHIS is taking this action in response to detections of citrus canker in these areas. Texas has already established an intrastate quarantine area for citrus canker that parallels the federal citrus canker regulatory requirements as specified in 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 301.75.
Under the citrus canker quarantine regulations, the interstate movement of citrus plants and plant parts, other than commercially packed and disinfected citrus fruit, remains prohibited except citrus nursery stock that is moved in accordance with regulations contained in 7 CFR 301.76 may move from areas quarantined for citrus canker.
On May 20, 2016, APHIS confirmed the positive identification of citrus canker in two adjacent sour orange trees in a city park in Houston, Harris County, Texas. A citizen reported the trees through the Save Our Citrus website. No commercial citrus production is contained within the quarantine area. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) removed and destroyed both positive citrus canker trees. APHIS completed delimiting surveys around the location and found no other citrus trees positive for citrus canker within the survey area.
During a nursery inspection on July 28, 2016, TDA sampled nursery trees suspected of having citrus canker at a retail nursery in Richmond, Fort Bend County, Texas. The APHIS Beltsville laboratory confirmed the diagnosis of citrus canker. TDA determined that most of the approximately 300 citrus nursery trees at the retail nursery were infected and, with the nursery’s consent, TDA destroyed the trees. On January 27, 2017, the delimiting survey was completed and the quarantine area was modified to include all positive trees detected during survey.
On October 16, 2016, APHIS confirmed the positive identification of citrus canker in additional lime and lemon trees to the northwest of the original finds in Rancho Viejo, Cameron County, Texas, causing an expansion of the quarantine area established on June 2, 2016. TDA, in cooperation with the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation, has removed and destroyed all infected plants. APHIS is completing delimiting surveys around the citrus canker positive sites in Rancho Viejo.
Under IPPC Standards, species of Xanthomonas that cause citrus canker are considered to be pests that are present, only in some areas in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas and subject to official control in the United States.