City of San Diego Declares May 8 “Citrus Matters Day”

May 7, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 8, 2015) – The City of San Diego today declared May 8 to be “Citrus Matters Day” to celebrate and recognize commercial citrus growers in the region for their contributions to the state of California. The declaration also serves to acknowledge a devastating disease that could impact the state’s iconic citrus industry, as well as the new #CitrusMatters awareness initiative, which highlights the role San Diego residents – particularly those with citrus trees in their yards – can play in protecting one of Californian’s favorite fruits.

“In 2013 alone, San Diego County was responsible for producing nearly 200,000 tons of citrus, making it one of the most integral citrus-growing regions in the state,” said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual. “Citrus Matters Day is a way to honor the men and women who provide the nation with some of our most-loved fruit and contribute to one of the state’s most important industries.”

California’s historic citrus industry, however, is threatened by a tiny pest, the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees and can transmit a deadly disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB, pronounced hwahng-lawng-bing), also commonly referred to as “citrus greening.” The disease has no known cure, and once infected, citrus trees decline in health, produce inedible fruit and eventually die, generally in five years’ time.

The first Asian citrus psyllid infestation in California was recorded in San Diego County in 2008. Since then, the psyllid has spread to more than 15 counties throughout Southern California. The insects can move quickly from residential areas into neighboring commercial groves, making it essential that homeowners with citrus trees on their property know how to protect their own trees and know what to do if they suspect their trees are infected.

In an effort to call attention to this threat, Bayer CropScience and California Citrus Mutual launched #CitrusMatters a year-long initiative aimed at raising awareness of the dangerous pest, the incurable disease and how commercial growers and California residents, together, can help save the citrus industry.

“San Diego Citrus Matters Day is an important reminder of the role citrus plays in all of our lives,” Nelsen said. “So many residents of San Diego enjoy walking out to their yards to pick a fresh lemon or orange from their trees. It’s essential that we all understand how to keep our trees healthy so we can keep our commercial industry healthy, too.”

There are a number of ways the San Diego community can get involved with the campaign to help prevent the spread of HLB and save California citrus, including:

  1. Spreading the word and increasing awareness about the disease, the Asian citrus psyllid and why they love citrus using the hashtag #CitrusMatters.
  2. Visiting to access HLB and Asian citrus psyllid resources specific to San Diego County.
  3. Monitoring their trees and having them checked if they think they might be infected. Call the San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures for more information at 858-694-2741.
  4. Becoming familiar with solutions available that can protect against the Asian citrus psyllid in their trees.

“Bayer CropScience is committed to helping prevent the spread of HLB and Asian citrus psyllid, preserving the livelihood of California’s professional citrus growers and protecting the fresh citrus we all enjoy,” said Nasser Dean, stakeholder relations manager for Bayer CropScience in California. “We’re excited to join California Citrus Mutual and the City of San Diego in celebrating Citrus Matters Day.”

The #CitrusMatters initiative is part of the ongoing effort by Bayer CropScience to provide citrus growers across the nation with solutions to help combat the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB. To learn more about the #CitrusMatters initiative and how homeowners, commercial citrus growers and citrus lovers alike can help save citrus, visit

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About California Citrus Mutual

California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is a citrus producer's trade association whose 2,200 grower members comprise 60 percent of California's 275,000 acre, $2.4 billion citrus industry. The Exeter, California-based organization was founded in 1977 by those who felt the need to unite their fellow growers into a cohesive, powerful force. Throughout the years, CCM has brought to fruition many of the goals of the founding fathers and has developed into a dominant force from within as well as outside the industry. Having attained the privilege to be called the "voice of the citrus grower," CCM remains the vessel which successfully navigates the often rocky waters of the business interest of its membership. For more information on CCM, visit

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