Horticultural Pest/Disease Boards

Washington counties may establish Horticultural Pest and Disease Boards to more effectively control and prevent the spread of horticultural pests and diseases. At the present time, such boards are located in all of the major fruit-growing counties of Washington.

The purpose of the boards is to prevent spread of new or persistent pests or disease from neglected or abandoned orchards. Pests most often listed are apple maggot, San Jose scale, codling moth, cherry fruit fly, and fire blight. Others may be selected in a few areas. The existence of outside sources of infestation of these pests can be a serious obstacle to pest management in commercial orchards.

The boards have the authority to require owners of neglected fruit trees to effectively control these pests. However, before action can be taken, one or more affected growers must submit a signed complaint. Complaint forms are available at most Extension or horticultural inspection service offices. The pest board may then investigate and document the situation, inform the offending pest source of action that must be taken to stop the spread of the pest, and may enforce action through the county prosecutors office if the offender fails to take effective action. As all US citizens have legal constitutional protection of their property, no direct action can be forced upon the landowner without direction by the county court system, after the land owner and the pest board have had an opportunity to explain the situation to a judge. 

Horticultural Pest and Disease Board telephone numbers are listed in the Introduction Section.