On November 14, 2014, Richard Lyons’ Nursery posted an article on its website entitled, “Why This Nursery Doesn’t Recommend Citrus or Avocado Trees.” It reported that citrus greening disease was primarily responsible last year for the state’s poor orange production, 104 million boxes.
Unfortunately, new information shows that things are getting even worse. On January 12 the U.S. Department of Agriculture revised its 2014-15 production forecast down 5% just from December. The agency now predicts that Florida’s yield will fall a million boxes short of last year’s record low.
In a January 13 memorandum, Adam Putnam, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, reported that federal, state and commercial growers have already allocated over $200 million to combat citrus greening. This year Putnam has requested $18 million from the Florida Legislature to continue research, prevent disease spread, and replant lost trees.
And, sadly, laurel wilt disease, the parallel, though unrelated, threat to avocados, also continues unabated. This insect-spread pathogen threatens the survival of the avocado industry in Florida and California.