I have been getting a lot of questions lately, pertaining to the quarantine here in Charleston on Citrus. It is Springtime and the desire to plant things is obvious. With the push to grow your own veggies and fruit, it is no wonder people want to grow their own Citrus.
The questions I keep getting are, "I want to grow some Citrus, but can't get any because of the quarantine". Unfortunately, there has been a lot of confusion as to how the quarantine works. I wanted to set the record straight.
Let me start at the beginning.
The reason for the quarantine is because of Citrus Greening. A couple of years ago a Grapefruit tree was discovered to have the disease in downtown Charleston. I have done a couple of blogs on the topic, you can read them here:
So I won't bore you with the details here.
Charleston County, the county I live in, and Beaufort County is under quarantine for both the Asian Citrus Psyllid and Citrus Greening. This means that Citrus can not LEAVE these counties. You can bring it in however.
So, if you live in neighboring Dorchester County and have a Citrus tree, you can bring it to Charleston County. Just be ready to leave the tree here. This also goes for the example of, if you live in Dorchester County and come to a big box store that happens to be selling Citrus trees in Charleston County, you LEGALLY can not buy that tree and take it home. Sure you can do it, the police and store employees are not checking drivers licenses, but it is still illegal. I can not even give a gift of a Citrus tree to anybody outside of my quarantine area.
Hopefully this clears that up a little. I know what you are thinking, then WHY are the big box stores selling Citrus trees if there is a chance of illegal exportation? The best answer I can come up with is, they don't know! I have asked many store managers that very question, I basically get the, "We sell what they ship us". So somewhere along the line there is a disconnect. I am trying to fix this in my small part of the world.
If you really want to know where the quarantines exist and learn more about this situation, check out this excellent website by the USDA:
The reason behind this blog today is to help clarify the quarantine of Citrus. Now, I am going to muddy the waters a little. Yes, you can basically bring Citrus from anywhere, other than from a quarantine area, into another area, unless you are a Citrus producing state. These states are, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona. You can not legally ship anything Citrus into these states. I had a person in Texas ask me how to get some Citrus seeds into her state, I told her THAT is even illegal. I sent her this from the Texas Department of Agriculture:
TITLE 4. AGRICULTURE
Part I. Texas Department of Agriculture
Chapter 5. Quarantines
Citrus Seed, Citrus Budwood, and Citrus Nursery Stock Quarantine
4 TAC sec.5.152, sec.5.153
The Texas Department of Agriculture proposes amendments to sec.5.152 and
sec.5.153, concerning restricted shipments of Citrus Seed, Citrus Budwood, and
Citrus Nursery Stock. The department proposes amendments sec.5.152 and sec.5.153
to include the State of California. Currently, citrus seeds, citrus budded
nursery stock or seedlings, citrus budwood, or any part of any citrus tree or
seedling may not be shipped, carried, or in any way transported by any means
into the State of Texas. Florida is the only state allowed to ship into this
state under certain conditions. It is necessary to amend the restricted shipment
section and the restrictions on citrus seed shipment section to include
California as a state from which citrus products may be imported because
California is a disease-free source of certified citrus budwood and citrus seed
for Texas producers.
Sorry about the legalize, but I wanted to show the information in its truest form. I would imagine that all of the Quarantine areas have similar statements.
There are some places that are authorized to ship into these Citrus producing states, but be careful, if you are shopping online they should state where they can ship to......make sure you ask. They have special authorization because of the way they grow their trees, either under screening or greenhouses. I have heard of Citrus tree shipments being confiscated because of illegal exportation.
Along these same lines, Yes, you can purchase a Citrus tree in Florida almost anywhere along I-95 and bring them back to your hometown. Again it is illegal! I have seen the federal order and it states that no leaves, twigs, stems, plants, trees, scions or cuttings can be moved from a quarantine area. This includes county and state lines.
If you have any doubts whether you live in a quarantine area or not, I urge you to please check out the Save our Citrus website. Just in case here it is again:
I hope this sets the record straight and more or less makes sense. I want everybody to have happy, healthy Citrus trees! Please, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.