TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Plant pests and diseases are killing South Florida palm trees, endangering Dade County Pine trees, and have all but eradicated citrus trees from the landscape. Now, they’ve taken aim on the Avocado, with the discovery of a dangerous beetle and disease in a Miami-Dade commercial avocado grove.
The disease is laurel wilt, and it’s spread to a number of trees including avocados by the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle. Plant experts have been monitoring the danger ever since it was discovered in South Florida. Now, for the first time, it’s been found in a commercial avocado grove, endangering both a major crop an the avocados you grow in your back yard.
See the effects of the disease in this video:
The state says avocados are a $13 million a year business in Miami-Dade, with more than 6700 acres of commercial groves.
If the spread of the disease and the beetle that carries it is not stopped, it could potentially destroy avocado trees and decimate the crop.
Avocados also grow in the yards of many South Florida homes, in some cases replacing citrus trees yanked out under the citrus canker eradication program.
The disease has already damaged many trees in North Florida and appears to be spreading down the peninsula.
Beyond reporting problems with avocado trees, not purchasing possibly infested firewood from outside the area, and not buying new trees from unregistered nurseries, the state and agriculture groups are trying to work out an attack plan to stop the spread of the disease.
Check the effect of the damage here