“Our greatest threat is from an infected tree, plant or cutting entering the state by consumers. Unknowing residents might purchase ornamentals or nursery stock from unscrupulous sellers either through a Web site or by unknowingly purchasing an infected product out of state and bringing it back for use in their yard or garden. Once an infected plant takes root, it is subject to psyllid transmission,” Hawkins says.

Pathologists at the Texas A&M-Kingville Citrus Center are currently studying methods of developing Citrus greening resistant trees in hopes of one day providing an effective method of replacing non-resistant varieties as a way to eradicate the disease, but they agree it may be years or decades before that can happen.

In addition, da Graca says a method of applying a “nutrient cocktail” to non-resistant plants is being tested in Florida, Texas and California and has demonstrated promising results.

“We have been testing this and other methods of controlling the disease and have experienced some success. But such experimental methods of fighting the spread of the disease are still a few years away before widespread application will become effective. Until then we are actively promoting psyllid control and insect reduction in hopes of staying ahead of the game, but to think Texas or California will escape Citrus greening infection in the months and years ahead are “optimistic” at best,” da Graca says. “The best method of control currently is an informed public.”

More information about Citrus greening can be found at www.texascitrucgreening.org.