Huanglongbing, or citrus greening, is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a winged insect no longer than a grain of rice.

Huanglongbing, or citrus greening, is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a winged insect no longer than a grain of rice.
Image Credit: USDA

CLEMSON — Among your top New Year’s resolutions: be sure you don’t carry citrus plants into Georgia.

The state of Georgia on Jan. 1, 2020, will adopt new regulations that make it illegal to import any citrus plant without a permit.

“This doesn’t affect citrus fruit, but it is an issue for South Carolina nurseries or citizens who buy citrus plants as ornamentals if they carry them across the state line,” said Steven Long, who leads the plant protection division of the Department of Plant Industry (DPI), a state regulatory unit housed at Clemson University.

“It’s part of an effort to stop the spread of significant pests and diseases like citrus canker, citrus greening and the Asian citrus psyllid,” Long said. “These are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and are significant problems both for the nursery and the fruit industry.”

South Carolina nurseries can contact DPI officials at Clemson for information on the requirements for authorization to ship citrus into Georgia.

The new Georgia regulation comes as a response to the needs of that state’s growing citrus industry, according to officials with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.