The high incidence of psorosis disease prompted the Texas citrus industry to initiate a voluntary virus-free program based on California’s “Psorosis Free Program” in 1948. The discovery of CTV in nursery trees in 1992, the prevalence of sour orange rootstock, and the presence of viroids and viruses which affect alternative rootstocks were catalysts for a mandatory virus-free budwood program. Today, Texas A & M University- Kingsville Citrus Center operates the program under the authority of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). The program facilities are located at the Texas A&M Citrus Center in Weslaco, Hidalgo Co.
The Texas Citrus Clean Plant Program is a state mandated program and is regulated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The goals and objective of this project is to ensure that the expanding Texas citrus industry has a 100% reliable quality source for healthy, pathogen-free, true-to-type germplasm. A clean source of citrus material is one of the most important factors for the survival and growth of the Texas citrus industry and is a key factor in slowing the spread of HLB in Texas. Without a clean source of germplasm, the Texas citrus industry would be at a very high risk for disease spread which would be very damaging to the Texas economy.
Foundation Screenhouses (Citrus Center)
The Texas Citrus Clean Plant Program has and will continue to accomplish goals in the following manner:
- Continue intensive management of the program with the best practices in the care and protection of the citrus germplasm collection. This includes high quality, efficient management of propagation, growing, fertilization, disease and pest eradication, with a highly trained team dedicated and focused on the project goal and objective.
- Continue intensive diagnostic testing of all material for HLB, CTV, and other Viruses/Viroids to ensure clean plant material for the Texas citrus industry.
- Expand the Texas collection with imported germplasm from CCPP in CA, Florida Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration, and by introducing Texas specific varieties to the program with the shoot tip grafting/therapy lab for pathogen elimination, establishing a clean foundation source for the new varieties.
- Maintain an intensive inspection and maintenance program for all facilities and screenhouses to ensure the trees are protected from exposure to diseases/pathogens/vectors.