HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture detected its first positive test for the plum pox virus this season.
The case was found in Monaghan Township, York County, an area already under quarantine for the virus.
“Despite the finding of plum pox in Monaghan Township, the department remains confident in the strength of our plum pox eradication program,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.
“Our staff has collected more than 75,000 samples, already this season and all but one has been negative thus far.”
What is plum pox? Plum pox is a virus that severely affects fruit production.
Infected fruit may appear deformed or blemished and could drop prematurely from trees, but causes no harm to people or animals that eat the fruit.
Wolff said that one peach tree in a 3 acre orchard was found to be infected with the virus and that the grower has been notified and treatment orders have been issued.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture established a 500-meter buffer zone around the infected tree or block of trees, in which all stone fruit trees must be removed and destroyed to reduce the possibility of further disease spread.
Decrease. There has been a drastic decrease in the amount of stone fruit acreage infected with plum pox after its initial detection in Pennsylvania in the fall of 1999.
Since that time, the state has mandated quarantine zones to control the spread of the virus.
Funding. Funding is available at both the state and federal level to ease the economic impact on those directly affected by plum pox virus eradication measures.
This year, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and USDA surveyors will sample 100 percent of the stone fruit trees in 13 townships currently under the plum pox quarantine.
Surveillance and testing will continue through the remainder of the growing season.
Detailed information on Pennsylvania’s plum pox eradication program can be found at www.agriculture.state.pa.us.
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