Posted: Jan 18, 2012 3:47 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2012 4:35 PM
Valley growers and plant nurseries are concerned. Their citrus crops could be in jeopardy.
When they got the news at Waugh's Nursery Center on Monday, it wasn't a surprise. Owner Ceciele Waugh says scientists researched citrus greening for years. Her store is under quarantine; they can't move any citrus in or out. She says it might affect her business.
"This time of year it makes up quite a bit of it because Winter Texans generally buy a lot of citrus trees," says Waugh.
Her parents were in the citrus industry before they opened the store. She knows what citrus greening could do to Texas' citrus crop.
"The impact that it could have on the citrus industry in the Valley is just impossible to anticipate, to predict, to overstate because it could be huge," says Waugh.
Citrus growers within a five-mile radius of where the diseased tree was found in San Juan are quarantined. They can't ship out any citrus plants or fruit with leaves attached.
"It has been responsible for the loss of maybe 100,000 acres in Florida," says Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, explains the disease.
He's not willing to throw in the towel on crops here.
"The good news is since Florida got it, we have been working very closely with Florida and with scientists from all over to develop a strategy that we have had planned out for some time for this day," says Prewett.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the impact and what could happen.
"It's too early to know how widespread it is and that's going to be the biggest single factor as to whether or not we can successfully contain it," says Prewett.
Prewett says it will impact how much growers need to spend to protect their orchards. Prewitt says the fruit is still safe to eat and prices should remain constant.
Texas Citrus Mutual will be getting information to homeowners about spotting the bugs that carry the disease in their own plants. The quarantine ends Friday, but it may be extended or expanded.