The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has established a quarantine in the city of Oceanside in north San Diego County following the detection of the citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB), known as citrus greening. There is no cure once a tree is infected, and it leads to bitter, misshaped fruit and tree death within a few years.

The disease was detected in two residential citrus trees and has not impacted residential groves. Staff are removing the trees and surveying others within a 250-meter radius.

“By taking this action, a critical reservoir of the disease and its vectors will be removed, which is essential to protect surrounding citrus from this deadly disease,” according to a CDFA statement.

CDFA is working with USDA and the San Diego County agriculture commissioner to maintain a 60-mile quarantine to restrict movement of citrus fruit, trees and related plant material.

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The department is urging residents to not move plants, leaves or foliage outside of the area and to cooperate with officials placing traps, inspecting trees and treating for the pest.

HLB quarantine areas already exist in parts of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where more than 2,400 trees have tested positive for the disease and been removed. Commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit are exempt from the provisions.