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Citrus Program Protects Health of State's Trees

The Issue

California citrus growers often want to import foreign citrus varieties to develop new product lines and extend growing seasons. To protect the state citrus industry from devastating diseases, all foreign budwood entering California must go through an official inspection service, which will quarantine, test, and, if necessary, cleanse the citrus tissues to ensure that they contain no pathogens. Also to protect the industry, the state requires that nurseries and commercial growers propagate new trees either from their own state-registered trees or from budwood increase blocks grown from buds from a registered source.

What Has ANR Done?

The Citrus Clonal Protection Program at the University of California, Riverside has operated since 1958 to import citrus varieties and to maintain a collection of true-to-type, disease-free registered trees that serve as the primary source of budwood for the state's nurseries and commercial growers. The program holds one of only two federal permits in the western United States for the importation of foreign budwood, and it assisted the second agency, the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus & Dates, also located in Riverside, to obtain its permit in 2002.

The Payoff

Citrus Growers Benefit from New Varieties, Reliable Source of Healthy Budwood

California, with a $800-million-a-year citrus industry, has the lowest disease incidence and the highest fruit quality of any citrus-producing area of the world. While a large part of the credit belongs to the state Department of Food and Agriculture for enforcement of regulations, the Citrus Clonal Protection Program also has served a significant role in ensuring that the state industry has a reliable disease-free source of budwood. It maintains more than 1,000 trees at the UC Lindcove Research & Extension Center as budwood sources, and it routinely quarantines and cleans diseased foreign budwood. During the past five years alone, the CCPP has released 69 new varieties--including the popular Cara Cara navel and several Clementine tangerine varieties--and sold more than 110,000 buds.

Clientele Testimonial

"I think this [program] has been one of the best investments the industry has made," said Central Valley citrus grower Hal Colin, also Chair of the Citrus Clonal Protection Program Committee of the Citrus Research Board. "We have much better fruit quality and many fewer problems with diseases and viruses than other citrus-growing regions in the world because of this program."


Supporting Unit: CNAS Dean's Office at UCR

CCPP Interim Director Joseph Semancik + 3253 Webber Hall + Department of Plant Pathology +(909) 684-8580 + (909) 686-5612 (Fax)+ http://www.ccpp.ucr.edu/