Michigan’s plum pox virus survey and restrictions

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.    

The Michigan Department of Agriculture has been surveying for plum pox virus (PPV) since 2000 as part of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) program. CAPS is a combined effort by federal and state agricultural organizations to survey, detect and monitor agricultural crop pests and biological control agents. Survey for PPV was initiated in response to the identification of PPV in Pennsylvania in October 1999. Since 2000, the MDA has conducted PPV surveys every summer including a CAPS-funded survey in 2006.

In July 2006, plum pox virus was detected in a plum tree sampled at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) in Benton Harbor, Michigan. On August 11, the USDA laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland confirmed that the sample was positive for the "D" strain of the plum pox virus. MDA staff immediately began to sample 100 percent of the non-cherry Prunus trees at SWMREC and will continue to identify and survey all non-cherry Prunus trees within a radius of 5 miles of the positive tree. The survey will include commercial orchards, homeowner orchards, abandoned trees and landscape plants known to be susceptible to this strain of PPV.

MDA‘s sampling effort will be supported by the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff from the USDA‘s Plum Pox Survey Office as well as USDA inspectors from throughout the United States. It’s estimated that 150,000 trees will need to be sampled as part of this delimiting survey. If an additional positive tree is found, the survey will be adjusted accordingly to provide a 5-mile buffer around each infected tree.

The USDA has issued Emergency Action Notifications (EAN’s) to all landowners with commercial orchards identified within 1 mile of the infected tree. Additional EAN’s will be issued to landowners with PPV-susceptible plants. The EAN provides notice that a landowner may not move propagative materials from PPV susceptible plants off of their properties. The MDA will soon initiate a quarantine of the same geographical area in accordance with Michigan’s laws. The restrictions in the quarantine will parallel those issued in the EAN’s.

Neither the EAN nor the MDA quarantine will hinder the harvest and sale of fruit in this area since PPV is not transmitted through the fruit or the seed. The plum pox virus poses no human health risk.

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