Nursery & Garden Industry Australia was represented at the recent biosecurity exercise, Yellow Dragon by John McDonald and Chris O’Connor. The exercise was a simulated incursion and response to the exotic plant pathogen Huanglongbing in suburban Sydney. The pathogen is vectored by the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an exotic plant pest.
Huanglongbing, also known as HLB or Citrus Greening, is a bacterial pathogen which in citrus causes leaf mottling and dieback leading to the eventual death of the tree. Fruit is small, misshapen bitter in taste and in mature fruit uneven in colour. This disease has caused widespread damage to citrus industries around the world, notably in Florida USA.
In addition for the nursery industry a number of other plants can be hosts for the vector or disease. Most notable is the Murraya which has widespread production and use in the urban environment.
The exercise was run by Plant Health Australia and included representatives from state and federal government biosecurity experts, Citrus Australia as well as growers and was an excellent opportunity to work through an incursion and identify gaps in response plans and opportunity for improvements.
If you see an exotic pest or plant, call the hotline 1800 084 881.