Last updated on April 25, 2014 at 1:22 EDT

Pennsylvania Fruit Orchards Remain Free of Plum Pox Virus

February 14, 2012

Survey Brings Good News to Fruit Growers

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pennsylvania’s effort to eradicate the Plum Pox Virus from fruit-bearing trees continues to be a success, Agriculture Secretary George Greig announced today.

A rigorous survey conducted last summer tested 61,056 leaf samples in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties. State and federal agriculture department crews began collecting orchard samples last May and finished at the end of October.

“Since Plum Pox Virus was first detected more than a decade ago, the department has been committed to eradicating the disease and minimizing its impact on growers’ livelihoods and the state’s economy,” said Greig. “The results of last year’s surveys show the state continues to be free of Plum Pox, and we commend the survey crews for their hard work and thank the growers for their cooperation.”

Pennsylvania was declared free of Plum Pox Virus in October 2009 after three years of negative test results. The latest survey is part of the required monitoring during the recovery phase. Another full survey will be conducted this year and monitoring will continue into 2013.

While no primary quarantine areas remain statewide, limited areas in Adams and Cumberland counties are under nursery quarantine restrictions for another year.

Plum Pox Virus severely affects production of fruit-bearing and ornamental varieties of almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum stone fruit trees. Spread by aphids, the disease causes premature fruit drop and blemishes on fruit that make it difficult to sell as table fruit.

After the virus was found in Adams County peach trees in 1999, state and federal agriculture officials teamed with Penn State University and imposed a 300 square-mile quarantine area, performed aggressive surveillance and developed an eradication program. Because the virus has no cure, affected growers were required to destroy all exposed stone fruit trees within the quarantined areas in the four affected counties. In all, 1,675 orchard acres were destroyed.

For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Plum Pox Virus.”

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: PR Newswire