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Valencia Oranges In Danger in California

Valencia Oranges In Danger in California

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Production has decreased significantly among California groves

The Valencia orange, an iconic California fruit, is facing some severe decreases in production in the Southern California region, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

Groves in Pauma Valley have been experiencing trouble maintaining orange growth due to high water prices and water cutbacks, with some groves shutting down altogether.

Water issues aren’t the only problem. A bacterial disease called huanglongbing, is fatal for trees and can destroy Valencia orange groves. Spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, the bacterial disease will affect many growers in the region.

Larger growers have joined to implement large scale spraying to kill the insects in an effort to hamper the disease, but the long-term success of this method is relatively unknown.

38,000 acres of Valencia orange groves remain, and production is declining for a number of reasons including competition from imported fruits and an increase in the demand for packaged citrus products, as well as the environmental causes.

Florida, another state that produces the fruit, has experienced similar, though not identical problems in their orange groves.

Citrus Growers in California Take a Hit from Freeze and Drought

California citrus growers have felt the effects of the state’s climate woes this year. The winter freeze and the three-year drought have hit California citrus production hard, and it does not look like it will improve anytime soon.

In December, temperatures in the Central Valley fell below freezing, which resulted in a shorter harvest season for navel oranges and mandarins. The navel orange harvest usually ends around the fourth of July, and according to Bob Blakely, of California Citrus Mutual, the harvest ended two to three weeks ahead of schedule. “The freeze reduced our crop, so as a result, we’re running out of fruit earlier than we would have normally,” Blakely said.

The freeze hit all Central Valley citrus, but Valencia oranges are expected to do well this harvest season because, according to Blakely, it was in a different growing stage that the others so it was less susceptible. Blakely said the fruit did not show evidence of much damage so there would not be a drastic reduction in Valencia oranges this year. There is also an ample supply of lemons this year because only about 25 percent of lemon crops are grown in the Central Valley. The rest are on the Central Coast, which was not hit by the cold snap.

As for citrus distribution, packer-growers plan to ship what is available. Al Imbimbo, VP of sales at Suntreat Packing & Shipping Co., which is based in Lindsey, plans to ship Valencia oranges this summer. He remains optimistic that the California citrus market, which slowed during the freeze, will pick up again this summer.

While the freeze hit California citrus growers’ ability to harvest this year, the drought is hit growers’ ability produce. The effects of the drought have caused a Gless Ranch citrus grove in Bakersfield to be plowed under, and Central Valley growers have not been receiving water from their water supplier due to allocation elsewhere, disabling them from growing any citrus. “The federal government will be the cause of lost jobs and economic recession in the Central Valley if water is not made available,” said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual in a statement.

The water that the Central Valley should receive is being stored because of measures enacted by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service in order to protect the delta smelt. California Citrus Mutual argued that the water should be delivered to Central Valley farmers because the March storms increased waters stores by 1.2 million acre feet, thereby adding plenty to maintain the fish and supply citrus growers.

The lack of rain and refusal of government agencies to distribute water to Central Valley growers has forced the removal citrus groves. “The actions by the federal government and the inability of the state administration to challenge existing policy is forcing another block of prime citrus acreage to be removed as a result of water not being made available,” Nelsen said.

California’s citrus growers are in danger of becoming unproductive. Growers who have the option are reducing their acreage and their irrigation, which is having an impact on the quality of the fruit as well as the quantity. According to Blakely, this could have an impact on citrus for the next five years.

The hit California citrus growers sustained from the freeze and the drought might affect the Central Valley economy for a long time to come. Growers might get a leg up this winter with the expected El Niño storm. However, if scientists are correct, it might not be much rain to help citrus production next year.

Citrus Growers in California Take a Hit from Freeze and Drought added by Brandi M. Fleeks on June 9, 2014
View all posts by Brandi M. Fleeks &rarr

Citrus in Orange County

This citrus crate label from Tustin depicts orange groves and the Santa Ana Mountains.
I recently ran across a CD full of short historical items written by my late friend and mentor, historian Phil Brigandi. Since I don't see this content elsewhere online or in print, I'm going to start posting a few of these pieces (credited, of course) on my blog from time to time. I'm glad to get a bit more of Phil's work out in the world. And it comes at an especially good time, since assorted projects and challenges have kept me from writing as many blog posts as I'd like lately. With that said. Here's a brief introduction to Orange County's citrus roots by the man who could have (and should have) written a whole book on the subject:

For many years, oranges and Orange County were synonymous. While never our only crop, oranges dominated local agriculture from the 1890s to the 1950s.

Dr. W.N. Hardin of Anaheim is usually credited with planting the first local orange trees in 1870. A number of different varieties were tried in the 19th Century, and while Navel Oranges were popular in the early days, the Valencia Orange eventually came to dominate the area. Navels ripen in the winter, while Valencias are harvested from May to November. The first commercial Valencia grove here was planted in 1875 on what is now the site of California State University Fullerton.

The market for local citrus crops was limited until good railroad connections and refrigerated cars became available. A blight that swept the local vineyards in the late 1880s prompted other ranchers to switch from grapes to citrus. By 1915, there were already over 20,000 acres of orange groves here, and by 1936 Orange County was producing one-sixth of the nation’s Valencia crop, which generated two-thirds of the county’s agricultural income.

Citrus pickers on the Hewes Ranch, in the El Modena area of Orange.

Lemons, limes, grapefruit, and other varieties of citrus fruit were also grown here. Grapefruit and limes were never very successful, but lemons did well in some areas. During the 1930s and 󈦈s, there were about 8,000 acres of lemon groves in the county, and a few packing houses were devoted entirely to lemons, including the Central Lemon Association in Villa Park.

Originally, each individual grower had to pick, pack, ship, and market their own crop, or sell it at reduced rates through commission agents representing large wholesalers. In the 1880s and 󈦺s, growers began joining together to form cooperative packing and marketing associations to better control the industry. By the 1930s, there were more than 40 local packing houses stretching from one end of the county to the other. In just the area in and around Orange, there were eleven packing houses, including the Santiago Orange Growers Association, one of the busiest orange packing houses in the state.

Most of the local packing houses were members of the Southern California Fruit Exchange (better known by their trademark, Sunkist). Others belonged to the Mutual Orange Distributors (MOD) or other smaller organizations. Sunkist, and the other regional organizations, sponsored major advertising campaigns across the United States in the early 20th Century that helped to transform oranges and orange juice from a holiday treat to an everyday item.

Brightly colored citrus labels were part of the promotional campaign. Each packing house used several different labels to indicate the various grades of fruit. Their bright colors, distinctive designs, and large lettering made it easy for wholesale buyers to spot them at auction sales.

Packing oranges in the Yorba Linda Citrus Packing House, circa 1949.

Oranges are susceptible to a number of insect pests and diseases, which growers had to fight in a variety of ways, including fumigation with hydrocyanic acid. Freezing temperature is another danger. On cold nights, oil was burned in “smudge pots” to keep the fruit from freezing. In later years, some growers used large fans to circulate the air and protect their groves.

But the worst citrus disease was the Quick Decline, a virus that began to infect local groves in the 1940s and killed off trees by the thousands. Orange County’s rapid growth in the 1950s and 󈦜s added other challenges for local growers, including the rising costs of land, water, and taxes. More and more groves were pulled out to make way for subdivisions.

Citrus acreage in Orange County reached its peak in 1948, with 67,263 acres in Valencias alone – more than five million trees. As of 2004, less than 100 acres of citrus were still being harvested here. Villa Park Orchards Association, the last remaining packing house in Orange County, is slated to move their operations to Ventura County in the near future. Orange County’s citrus industry will soon be just a memory.

[The Villa Park Orchards packing house, located in the Cypress Barrio of Orange, has indeed closed down since this article was written. But the building is being preserved and adapted for other uses by Chapman University. - Ed]


Seville oranges are best suited for juicing and zesting as their bitter and sour flesh is unpalatable when used raw. The juice and rind are used for both sweet and savory applications, and the juice can be mixed into syrups, cocktails, vinaigrettes, aioli, sauces, marinades, or as a finishing touch on fish and white meats. The zest can be used to flavor sugars, salts, stews, cooked vegetables, and baked goods such as muffins, cakes, and bread. Seville oranges can also be used as a substitute for key limes or lemons in custards, tarts, or pies. The bitter rind and seeds are ideal for making candied orange peel and traditional marmalade, jams, and jellies as the seeds are high in pectin and naturally thicken the preserves. Seville oranges pair well with meats such as chicken, duck, pork, beef, veal, and white fish, garlic, onion, bay leaves, cilantro, oregano, thyme, cumin, serrano peppers, strawberries, broccoli, gin, whiskey, chocolate, and lemon juice. The fruits will keep up to one week when stored at room temperature and 2-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Seville oranges can also be frozen whole and stored in the freezer for up to one year.

Citrus Preserved

Marmalade is a work of art that anyone can create—and with more ease than you may think.

Home canning once struck me as remote and quaint—far too time-consuming to contemplate actually doing, and with the element of risk that the jars would be inadequately sterilized and I'd poison both myself and the recipients of my lovingly homemade gifts. Besides, if I wanted to store something particularly ripe and seasonal, I had the unquaint freezer. Late one summer I found myself alone at a friend's California house with exceptional tomatoes going to waste in the garden, an unopened box of canning jars in the pantry, and a deadline waiting in the study. The whole enterprise took on sudden allure. It turned out to be remarkably, even disappointingly, easy.

The question before anyone thinking of "putting food by," as the title of an authoritative manual has it, remains this: Wouldn't it be easier—and just as satisfactory—to go to the store? If the food in question is something you've grown yourself, objectivity is impossible. If, however, the food is bought, considerations of time and shelf space come into play.

In many experiments with marmalade over two winters, I decided that for citrus it's worth it. The flavor is brighter, sharper, and more distinct than it is in marmalade you can buy. (Terminology is loose, but the general distinction is that jellies are made from juice alone, jams include crushed fruit, and marmalades include citrus rind. Preserves are whole fruit or chunks of fruit in syrup, and conserves include nuts, spices, and other oddments.) You can actually tell what fruit you're eating—not always possible with marmalades from even the most homestyle-seeming producers—and even though you're using pounds of sugar at a time, the taste of the finished marmalade will be much less cloying.

Also, lemon marmalade is scarce. Indeed, I never tasted lemon marmalade until I made it. After one spoonful I realized that whatever the dictates of tradition, oranges were expendable. (The name "marmalade" didn't originally refer to citrus anyway it derives instead from a word for quince, another tart fruit that home cooks boil with sugar.) My revelation came in another house, as I avoided another deadline, with a lemon tree outside the kitchen window it was confirmed at home, where I used the wonderfully sweet Meyer lemons, thanks to Diamond Organics, which ships them year-round (the number is 800-922-2396). Meyer lemons, which grow in many California back yards, are thin-skinned and almost seedless, with a clean, only lightly acidic flavor. Their two peak seasons are the early fall—and now.

I was lucky in my choice of gardens: tomatoes and citrus provide easy and safe introductions to home canning, because both are high in acid, which naturally retards the growth of most micro-organisms. (Pickling is the commonest way to home-can vegetables, not because so many cooks love vinegar but because it renders low-acid vegetables safe.) Sugar, too, retards bacteria, because it chemically binds with water and ties up a natural medium for growth it's safe to eat most jellies (and honey) long after it might be wise to throw out other bottled foods. In sweet home-canned goods the goal is to make something that jells, lest you bottle syrup. This can be a very tricky matter for many fruits. Acid, sugar, and pectin determine the "setting" point, and luckily marmalade is high in all three. Commercial pectin is usually made, in fact, from the pith (the white part of the rind) of citrus fruits.

Most marmalades, then, will jell readily and pose little danger of spoilage—if you use the classic proportion of one part sugar to one part fruit. Low-sugar preserves require the addition of commercial pectin, which makes for complications, and low-sugar marmalade is also subject to fermentation. After experimenting with reducing the proportion of sugar for fruits that seemed sweet and raising it for particularly sour ones, I came to the convenient (and to me surprising) conclusion that one to one always produces the clearest and best flavor.

This ratio is by weight: in home canning, as in serious baking, a kitchen scale is essential. So is a thermometer, to remove anxiety from the decision of when the marmalade is done. Either a jelly or a deep-fat-frying thermometer will serve most hardware stores sell them for a few dollars. You don't need a special preserving kettle, attractive as the tinned copper ones are, with their slightly flaring sides and curved, swinging handles. Any heavy-bottomed pan wider than it is deep, so as to encourage fast evaporation, will do. Canning jars with screw-top metal lids—easier to manage, if less appealing, than jars with clamping glass lids—are available at most supermarkets and hardware stores.

Small batches are always more manageable: the preparation is easier, and so is bringing the marmalade to the setting point. As the writer Jeanne Lesem points out in her concise and informative, most of us do "not need or want … dozens of jars of anything." Still, there's no better gift than a jar of your own marmalade. Don't lose the decorative labels that come in most boxes of jars—they're necessary for pride of authorship.
The British are the world's masters of marmalade, and they have evolved many ways to make it. Guided by the no-nonsense voice of May Byron, whose Jams and Jellies was published in England in 1917 (Dover reprinted it in 1975), I tried them all, and boiled the techniques down (sorry) to three: what I call whole-fruit, cut-rind, and shredded-zest.

Several principles became clear. The first is that the fruit should be cooked until completely tender before the sugar is added. Sugar can toughen rind, and the goal of the long soaking that English recipes often call for—one, two, even three days—is to soften the fruit and release pectin into the water. You can soften the rind by simmering it for an hour, and inadequate pectin won't be a problem with any of the methods I recommend.

The second principle is that the sugar should be heated before you add it, which greatly shortens the time required to reach the setting point. ("This is a fact but rarely known," Byron says. "Remember that it is the fruit which requires cooking the sugar only needs to dissolve," and the mixture to thicken.) There's no trick to heating sugar. Spread it in a baking pan, foil-lined for greater ease, and leave it on the middle rack of a low oven (275-300°) for fifteen or twenty minutes.

You can vary the fruit according to what you find at the market: weighing the fruit, water, and sugar liberates you from worrying about whether the citrus at hand is the right size or juicy enough. The best oranges for marmalade are bitter, or sour, oranges, which contain many pectin-rich seeds and are nearly as tart as lemons. The English call them Seville, for the Spanish region of Andalusia where in the sixth and seventh centuries conquering Moors created vast orange plantations. For a thousand years, until the Portuguese imported sweet oranges from their colonies in India, all European oranges were bitter. (Classic dishes like duck à l'orange and crepes Suzette were created for bitter oranges, which, like all oranges, are thought to have originated in China.) Today bitter oranges (Citrus aurantium) are extremely hard to find, and their season is short—usually from mid-January to mid-February. In Spain they are grown chiefly for the British marmalade market occasionally you can find them in fancy-fruit and whole-food stores in the United States.

Sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) are often seedless, but their thick pith makes up for the pectin lost in seeds. They work fine for marmalade as long as you include lemons to counteract their sweetness. Both "juice" and Valencia oranges are cheaper, higher in useful seeds, and often less overwhelmingly sweet than navel oranges sourish tangerines, which often contain many seeds, are also excellent in marmalade, as are limes, if you like them. Blood oranges, with a purplish interior, are now grown in California (Sunkist calls them "moro" on the label) and are available in many supermarkets during their late-winter season, which extends into early spring they have a winey, lightly tart flavor and make a lovely garnet-colored marmalade.

"Three-fruit" marmalade usually refers to orange, lemon, and grapefruit. I avoid grapefruit, because I find it domineering and so thick with pith that the final flavor is too bitter unless you cut most of the pith away beforehand. Yet I covet the pithy citron, a citrus that looks like a big, bumpy lemon, whose aggressively pungent flavor is familiar as one of the candied rinds in the dreaded fruitcake. It is grown in California chiefly for use in Jewish festivals (the Hebrew name is etrog call Lindcove Ranch, at 209-732-3422, to see if citron is available). The essential two fruits for classic marmalade are oranges and lemons, in a ratio of roughly three to one. Beyond that it's up to you.
By far the easiest method of marmalade making requires no initial peeling or slicing at all, and produces what Jane Grigson, whose writing gives me the pleasure others find in Jane Austen, called in "the simplest, easiest, best-flavoured marmalade." Whole-fruit marmalade is foolproof, because it contains all the fruit's pith, and the seeds release their pectin during the boiling. It has the deepest flavor and darkest color of any kind, and is the closest to Dundee or "Oxford-cut" marmalade, with the definite taste of rind.

Whichever fruit you use, be sure to scrub the peels in warm water with a clean scrub brush (organic fruit is of course preferable for the absence of any chemical treatment). Boil the whole fruit in water to cover until it is very tender when pierced with a fork—from one to one and a half hours. Lift out the fruit and weigh it, reserving the water set an equal weight of sugar to warm in a low oven. Halve the fruit and cut it into whatever shape you prefer—thin slices or quarter-inch cubes are usual. The cooked and halved fruit can be chopped by pulsing it in a food processor, but I prefer cutting by hand, which goes quickly and allows you to determine the shape also, a few pulses too many will produce puree. You can pick out the seeds as you go, but it isn't essential—they will float to the surface when you boil the fruit and sugar, and are easily skimmed off.

Now comes the marmalade part. Bring the chopped fruit and an equal weight of the cooking water to a boil in a wide, shallow pan and add the warmed sugar. Boil hard uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking, and skimming off any scum and seeds, until a thermometer reads 220° F or (as is easier to see on most thermometers) 105° C. Technically the setting point is seven degrees Fahrenheit above the boiling point, which varies depending on altitude. It can take long, watched minutes of boiling for the mercury to rise each of the last seven (or eight, to be safe) degrees. If you have heated the sugar in advance and you divide the batch so that you boil only four to six cups in one pan, the climb shouldn't take more than twenty or thirty minutes.

As the marmalade approaches doneness, it thickens and darkens. Non-thermometer tests for doneness include the spoon, or "sheet," test: when poured from a wide spoon held six to twelve inches above the pan, the liquid will slowly combine into one stream, or sheet, rather than dripping in two or three rivulets. Or you can try the saucer, or "wrinkle," test: put two teaspoons or so of marmalade onto a cold saucer and leave it in the freezer for five minutes. It's ready if when you push it with your thumb, the surface wrinkles. I've come to rely on this easy test to confirm that enough evaporation has occurred after the mixture has reached the right temperature.

Whole-fruit marmalade sets like a dream, almost before it cools—other homemade marmalades can take at least a day to set, exposed to air. (You needn't be alarmed if marmalade in a jar remains loose, since the final boiling to sterilize it drives the air out of the jars.) The tradeoff for the ease and guaranteed jell of whole-fruit marmalade is a somewhat murky appearance the jelly is cloudy rather than clear, and is often flecked with white dots from the pith. But the bitter undertone of pith is a flavor many marmalade fanciers consider absolutely essential. You can accentuate it by substituting brown sugar for a third to half of the weight of the sugar. Sliced fresh ginger or pieces of candied ginger are also good additions.

The cut-rind method results in a less complex but purer fruit taste, with a lighter color and clear jelly. Cut-rind marmalade is looser than whole-fruit, but I prefer its cleaner, more staccato flavor.

Scrub the fruit and juice it, scraping out each juiced half and reserving all the seeds and pulp. Slice the rind into pieces of the size you prefer. Turn out t he reserved pulp and seeds onto a doubled square of cheesecloth and tie it closed. Weigh the rind with the bundle and add enough water to the juice to bring it to an equal weight. Simmer the rind and the bundle in the liquid in a pot tall and narrow enough for the rind to remain submerged. Cook until the rind is completely tender—about forty-five minutes to an hour. Twenty minutes or so before it is done, heat an equal weight of sugar. When the rind is cooked, remove the bag, scraping off any bits of rind, and squeeze it gently over the pot. Add the heated sugar and boil until thick.

The purest flavor of all results from first removing the zest (the colored part of the rind) with a potato peeler or a sharp knife and slicing it into shreds or small squares, and then paring away and discarding the pith. This is the best way to showcase the delicate flavor of, say, blood oranges—or Meyer lemons. Be sure that lemons for an all-lemon marmalade are fresh the riper any fruit is, the less pectin it contains. I follow the cut-rind method, simmering the shredded zest and the sliced flesh with an equal weight of water for about forty minutes, adding an equal weight of heated sugar, and boiling it hard for several minutes after the thermometer says it's ready—with lemon marmalade small batches and fast evaporation seem particularly important to ensure a jell. The zest of Meyer lemons is a pleasure to remove and cut, and the intense, perfumed flavor is incomparable. I can't wait to spread lemon marmalade on a (bought) sponge-cake shell and top it with the season's first berries and whipped cream.
Canning need not cause anxiety. Straightforward instructions, sometimes even with pictures, appear right on the boxes of jars, and any number of books contain reassuring information. My favorite is Preserving Today, which is about to be reprinted in paperback Edon Waycott's has useful prefatory material. , by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, is an oversized picture book that is surprisingly substantial, with excellent recipes.

A few tips the canning instructions sometimes leave out: Use the biggest pot you own, and put a folded dish towel or, preferably, a terry-cloth towel at the bottom, to keep the jars from rattling against one another (the cloth won't burn, and terry cloth stays put). Before filling the boiled, sterilized jars, let cooked marmalade rest for ten minutes so that the peel won't sink to the bottom when it's ready you'll see a skin on the surface that will ripple at a touch. Boiling-hot glass is far more fragile than cool glass, so resist the urge to shift the position of the jars in the boiling water, and lift them out carefully onto a clean towel (never onto cold metal). Thick rubber gloves give you a surer grip than the tongs most books recommend.

I've found that marmalade isn't balanced and ready to eat for at least a month (store jars in a cool, dark place). They say that all jams should be consumed within a year, but when I recently tasted last year's marmalade, I found it even better for the aging—stronger, with a marvelously fresh flavor. But then, by that time I practically felt as if I had grown the fruit myself.

Write a Response

The level of concern of Citrus Greening is reported in a number of articles, however our company (UK based - Organic chemicals) carried out 2 live psyllid trials and had 100% success on sterilising the off spring of the psyllids and yet getting the research people to give us the time of day is near on impossible. This is ridiculous to think of the millions of your tax payer $ being spent on various research and we have something worth pursuing but because we are not a US based research institute we don't get the time of the day. We spent a mere 4,000 GBP studying this with a fully safe / non toxic / organic product and had 100% success in controlling the spreading agent using the same vector (what more could you want than spreading of clean insects to breed out the bacteria) and no one pays 1 iota of attention . shame on the Citrus Grower research organisations and your government agencies. We will keep pursuing this as it is a clean, organic and sustainable solution worth further study to prove the point.

What about the spread of disease by mail? Years ago, mail processing plants had Ag dept inspection stations. There seems to be no inspections any longer. I work inside a post office in the central valley of CA, and customers are continually mailing citrus in our flat rate boxes to all corners of the US. I try to dissuade them, but I'm the only one it seems. Can the postal service get some back up on not mailing backyard fruit? USPS should be adhering to Ag restrictions, but the rules are very unspecific. Thank you

This is antique (it's now September 2016). What is the current status? I live in the Central Valley of California (I'm a Water District general manager) and in this immediate area we have no citrus (too cold in winter on the valley floor, citrus are on the slopes). We have alfalfa and (now, all of a sudden) pistachios. Nowhere near enough water to support all that - but that's a different rant. I would be interested in growing kaffir limes for leaves and perhaps fruit - and also curry tree leaves. How to get uninfected plants?

Love citrus trees. They've always been so easy to grow. In Socal we get from

I love Citrus trees. Citrus trees should be planted in a sunny and wind-protected area.Trees can be planted at any time duration. However, spring is the best time.To treat infected area, Clean-up and remove all leaf debris under the tree. Prune the lower branches from the tree, those that are more than 2 feet from the ground. Then spray with a fungicide such as Agri-Fos or Captan.

Hello! Your links above are no longer working. :) Good article as I'm thinking of growing a Kaffir lime tree in my home (indoors) for seasoning and having fresh leaves available when needed by freezing them. Is there a restriction on indoor grown Kaffir lime and moving it? Or, do I need to bag it and have it quarantined before moving to a restricted area (Alabama to. - anywhere but here GS Civilian) - and even though I'd be keeping it indoors. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide! USDA - Love the work you do every day!

Is it safe to buy a citrus tree from Home Depot with a tag that says"Do not move in or out of a quarantined area? This is in Los Angeles County.

@Diane Baxter - Hi Diane, yes, you can buy a citrus tree from Home Depot. However, the tag indicates that the tree is currently being purchased within a quarantine area. A quarantine is an area where the movement of plants is regulated and it would be a violation of federal regulations to leave the quarantine area with the plant. You can find information about the current quarantine boundaries here: The quarantines that apply to citrus in California are for the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening. Citrus is also a host for many fruit flies.

I frequently observe citrus trees for sale at Home Depot and Lowe's that have green fruit that appears to have either canker or greening disfiguration on the fruit. The employees tell me their products are approved for sale by inspectors. Recently I purchased and planted very young Persian lime and Meyer lemon young trees. The lime had a fruit on it the size of a golf ball and their were two others that were slightly smaller and forming. They were clean at purchase. Within 4-6 weeks the larger fruit showed small pock marks similar in appearance to canker spots. A few weeks later the affected area spread to two thirds of the fruit surface looking exactly the same as pictures of canker diseased fruit. Is it possible the trees contacted disease while planted that showed on already forming fruit? There are no other signs of greening, canker or leaf miner activity on the tree or leaves. Any suggestions? My feeling is the box store sold an infected tree because I continuously see these possibly diseased fruits on display at both stores. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I recently came home from vacation and found my two lemon trees (in Pots) tagged and quarantined. I wondered if it is my whole neighborhood that was quarantined or just how it was known that I had two trees in my backyard. I would think that I should have been notified either by a knock on the door (I was not home) or a note left that it was done and that they had been on my property.

@Irene F Kilstrom - USDA staff and our State agriculture department partners conduct periodic inspections throughout the year to monitor the health of citrus trees in and around citrus-related quarantine areas. You can see where there are citrus-related quarantines at Early detection is the most cost effective method to prevent citrus disease outbreaks with minimal impact on homeowners, the environment, economy, and U.S. agriculture.

In 1.Be Aware of Quarantines. it states "Check our interactive quarantine map to learn what areas are under quarantine." The word "our" is misleading since it suggests that the map and associated link is to a USDA managed page, but the link goes to a NON-USDA site. Also, the map is non-functional or non-existent. Please fix this.

@Citrus Fan - Because this blog post is several years old, USDA no longer supports the website and the mapping element described in this blog post. Now, you can find citrus information by logging onto To find more information about APHIS' citrus health programs, you can go to our Citrus Health Response Program page. For information about quarantines in specific states, please click on the specific citrus pest you are interested in on that page.

I am moving from Washington state to Arizona. Can I take my lime tree? I will be passing through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and nevada .

Still confused. Can I ship my Florida homegrown grapefruit to family members in North Carolina and Tennessee?

@Theresa - thank you for your comment. The entire state of Florida is under quarantine for citrus greening disease, Asian citrus psyllid, citrus canker and sweet orange scab. A relatively small area of southwest Florida in adjoining areas of Hendry and Collier counties is under quarantine for citrus black spot. Due to these quarantines, USDA APHIS prohibits the movement of homegrown citrus out of the state of Florida. This means that homegrown grapefruit from Florida cannot be shipped or hand carried to North Carolina or Tennessee.

Can I ship my homegrown grapefruit from Arizona to Michigan?

@Amy - thank you for reaching out about shipping your homegrown grapefruit from Arizona to Michigan, a non-citrus-producing state. No citrus fruit, including grapefruit from backyard trees, can be shipped out of Arizona unless it is washed and treated to mitigate the disease Sweet Orange Scab (SOS). In order to do this in your home, you must wash and brush the citrus to clean it thoroughly. Then the fruit must be treated with a mild bleach solution by fully submerging the fruit in it and then letting it dry naturally. There are also companies in Mesa and Tucson who have agreed to treat homeowner’s fruit for them: Orange Patch in Mesa and Micander Enterprises in Tucson. Of course, the best way to protect American citrus is to simply enjoy your fruit locally and not ship it outside of your state.

Can I buy a citrus tree from a commercial grower in a quarantine area to plant at home also in the quarantine area?

@Albert – thank you for reaching out regarding purchasing a commercial citrus tree in a quarantine area. It is safe to purchase a commercial citrus tree to plant in your home garden if your home garden is in the same quarantine area as the commercial plant nursery where you purchased it. Transporting and planting the purchased tree would become an issue if you were to move the tree outside of the quarantine area. Your local State Plant Health Director’s office and/or your local State Department of Agriculture are valuable resources of information regarding citrus health and can provide information to anyone with questions unique to their state or situation.

I recently bought several citrus tree from a nursery outside of my county with no knowledge of a quarantine. They nursery never told me about any diseases regard citrus. I trusted the nursery to pick out the trees for me (which in hindsight was probably a mistake). One tree, a Mexican lime, came with a tag that said “do not move out of quarantine area”, I did not notice this until they planted the tree. Am I in danger of being fined or was this transaction the nursery’s fault for moving the trees at all?

I am being told by a neighbor that moving citrus fruit out of the yard is a "big no-no" in response to a request for donations of excess fruit, including from my grapefruit tree, to a local hospital and food pantry.

Zone 7 and Zone 2 for nursery
Yes or No?

I've been sharing and trading with neighbors and the intended hospital and food pantry is in the same city/county/zone.

And it would be very nice if both the USDA and various state equivalents would include links to homeowner restrictions so we would not have to depend on q/a sites like this one.
Thank you.

Your quarantine map link goes to NOWHERE

Help us out! Need updated information. The quarantine map link is malfunctioning. Hoping for accurate, current information from our USDA, government source. Please.

@meryl eldridge - Hi Meryl, thank you for bringing that link to our attention. We will work to get that fixed, in the meantime, please find the quarantine map here:

I live in California, and would like to order 6 Rio Red grapefruit (fruit only) from South Texas, to be shipped to me for personal consumption only in my home. Is this specically prohibited by USDA regulations? If so, could you please email me the specific regulation that covers this? Thank you !!

@Lee Coffin - thank you for reaching out about the regulations governing citrus movement in California. California’s citrus pest exterior quarantine (CCR 3250) requires a USDA-issued certificate for commercial fruit coming from a Texas packinghouse. If the citrus is not coming from a commercial packinghouse, but rather from a yard, it would not be allowed. The California Department of Food and Agriculture can provide the most comprehensive guidance local to your area. We recommend reaching out to your State Plant Regulatory Office at (916) 654-0317 or [email protected] for more information.

The above article states:
“But gone are the days of sharing the fruit trees or seeds with friends and family out of state or even in the next county.”

Two questions regarding backyard (non-commercial) propagation of citrus by seed in California:

1. Where can I find the regulation that specifically
prohibits “backyard” (non-commercial) citrus seed propagation from a non-certified disease-free source, as all regulations seem to be specific to “commercial nurseries”?

2. If there is no regulation stating specific prohibitions for backyard citrus seed growers in California, where can I find an “official” recommendation for proper backyard citrus seed propagation?

Thank you for your vigilance to keep our citrus healthy!

@John Valenzuela - thank you for your comment. The California Department of Food and Agriculture can provide the most comprehensive guidance local to your area. We recommend reaching out to CDFA Citrus Division Director, Victoria Hornbaker at [email protected] for more information.

Am I allowed to move my 30-year old Meyer Lemon Tree (planted in Oak Barrel) from Irvine, Orange County, Ca to Penn Valley, Nevada County, Ca?

In Season: Oranges are at their peak between December and April. Since oranges keep well in cold storage, they can be found in supermarkets throughout the year.

What to Look For: The most common variety of orange for eating is the navel orange, so named because the blossom end often resembles a navel. The skin of a ripe navel orange ranges in color from deep orange to yellow-green. Choose fruit that's heavy for its size and free of soft spots.

How to Store: Oranges can be stored at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Diabetes Management: Why Should You Add Oranges To Diabetes Diet

The American Diabetes Association has listed citrus fruits among Diabetes superfoods. According to the association, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons are full of fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium, which would help benefit a healthy diabetic eating plan.
Oranges are full of fibre. Fibre takes longest to break down and digest. This enables slow release of sugar into the blood stream, which would further ensure that your blood glucose levels are stable for a long period of time. Moreover, the glycaemic index of raw oranges is just about 40-43. The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbs with low GI value (55 or less) are digested, absorbed and metabolised slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose. Diabetics are advised to include more low GI foods in their diets.

Diabetes Management: Orange is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D

Diabetes Management: Eat Whole, Don't Juice It

Make sure you have the fruit raw and whole for maximum benefits. Drinking its juice may cost you some healthy fibres and shoot up the blood sugar levels. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care, revealed that eating citrus fruits could lower the risk of diabetes in women, but drinking the fruit juice may prove detrimental to their blood sugar levels.

The GI score of unsweetened orange juice is also around 50, as compared to the GI score of whole orange (40).

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

When you buy California Oranges, it always makes the perfect citrus gift for you, your family or even co-workers. Now you can order your sweet and juicy California Navel Oranges from Pearson Ranch! Your orange order will be packed and shipped FRESH right to your door ANYWHERE in the US. Remember, when you send California Navel Oranges, you're sending both a gift of good health, and of great taste, and you are buying oranges right off the farm!

California Oranges-10, 20 or 35 lb. boxes

Get 5 lbs of Fresh Vitamin C' Premium Packed California Oranges shipped right to your door! Pearson Ranch Oranges are grown in the "heart" of "The Orange Belt" of The San Joaquin Valley, California. Tended to by the best farming crew with years of experience, these oranges are expertly farmed, with caring hands. Irrigated by deep well water obtained from run off from the mighty Sierra Nevada mountain range, and raised under the famous "California Sunshine", you simply will not find oranges this good unless you grow them yourself.
Includes Express FedEx Shipping!

5 pounds of Oranges- $25.00

Juice Oranges Pearson Ranch now offers boxes of oranges that you can use to make your very own fresh squeezed OJ. Juice your own oranges every morning and enjoy all the healthful benefits, and delicious flavor of our fresh California Oranges, and have them delivered right to your door. Juice em up and raise a glass to your health. And don't forget you can always sign up for our monthly juice orange program and have your own steady supply of juice oranges coming every month. This way you can stay up on your vitamin "C" all year long!

buy 20 or 35 lb. "juice" boxes

Now you can have fresh California Oranges delivered right to your door every month during the California Orange shipping season. We are pleased to introduce our NEW Monthly Orange Delivery Program. You can choose from 20 lbs. or 35 lbs. of California Oranges every month and have them shipped to you ANYWHERE in the USA. Don't worry, there is no long term commitment and you determine which months you get delivered. We make it "easy squeezy".

What fruit is most at risk?

No citrus grown commercially is immune to HLB, but there’s considerable variation in susceptibility.

Grapefruits are the most susceptible, followed by oranges and small-fruited (Key-type) limes. Bearss limes (the main commercial type) and lemons are fairly tolerant they get infected and develop some HLB symptoms but continue to crop relatively normally.

Mandarins, which are more genetically diverse, range from very vulnerable to quite tolerant. For example, trees of SugarBelle, a rich-flavored cross of clementine and Minneola tangelo bred at the University of Florida, have remained reasonably healthy and productive. This and other reportedly tolerant Florida varieties are now undergoing therapy and testing in Riverside, and if commercialization agreements are reached, some may become available to California nurseries and growers.

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