The absence of plum pox virus in two New York counties means stone fruit growers can resume planting trees there.
Orleans and Wayne counties have tested negative for plum pox virus three years in a row, which releases them from Regulated Area designation, according to a news release from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Quarantine regulations remain in effect in the counties, but growers may now plant stone fruit and other trees in them. More than 10,000 acres in Orleans County and more than 14,000 acres in Wayne County were released from the Regulated Area designation.
“This is great news for New York’s stone fruit industry in Wayne and Orleans Counties,” State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine said in the release. “I’m cautiously optimistic that this progress will soon lead to a total eradication of the Plum Pox Virus here in New York State and in turn, the continental United States.”
Because of a positive test for plum pox virus in 2011, Niagara County remains a Regulated Area.
New York is the only state where plum pox virus, which can disfigure fruit but is not harmful to humans, has not been eradicated. The virus was first found in the U.S. in 1999, in Pennsylvania. It was first found in New York in 2006.