Provisions of California’s cherry fruit fly quarantine are now being applied to English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) from Oregon. This is due to a recent determination that English laurel fruit is a host for cherry fruit fly. If this material does not have proper official certification that is free from, or properly treated for, cherry fruit fly, then it will be rejected by counties and at the border stations. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is in direct talks with their counterparts at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to determine if this new ruling also includes Portugal laurel (P. lusitanica). The ODA is also seeing if the CDFA is willing to add more options for certification. One key problem with getting this material certified is that it is difficult to strip all the fruit off of these plants. Fruitless liners are not difficult to certify but plants with fruit or plants that are rooted in soil or media pose significant problems.
According to ODA, CDFA officials are considering treatment options, including the possible use of a Syngenta pesticide product as a soil drench. ODA hopes to have more info from CDFA soon. In the meantime, ODA horticulturists are contacting all of their nurseries who regularly ship English laurel to California and are warning them of the situation. ODA intends to post information soon on this issue at ODA’s Web site, http://egov.oregon.gov/ODA/. The OAN will work with ODA officials to identify and pursue options to reopen California to Oregon growers of P. laurocerasus.