For the third time, homeowners whose healthy citrus trees were taken during the state’s controversial and failed battle with citrus canker have won their court fight.
The $1.6 billion eradication program ended in 2006 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared citrus canker endemic to Florida. More than 16.5 million citrus trees in groves, nurseries and backyards were destroyed in an attempt to stop the fruit-blemishing disease’s spread. It was the largest pest eradication program in the world.
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Citrus canker battle a sad saga in Florida’s history
In 1995, canker was detected in Miami-Dade County.
In 2000, a rule requiring removal of trees within 1,900 feet of an infected tree was established. It became law in 2002.
The 2004 and 2005 hurricanes spread canker so extensively that eradication was not possible.
More than 16.5 million trees were destroyed.
The program cost more than $1.6 billion.
In January 2006 the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would no longer finance the program, which effectively ended it.