State ordered to pay for healthy citrus trees they cut down

When I was a kid growing up in South Florida, a large citrus tree was a real prize and in the winter we always had extra fruit to share with friends and neighbors.  In fact, sending Florida citrus to our frozen friends and relatives in the north has been going on for decades.  Florida citrus has been the pride of the State although many groves were abandoned before being sold to developers who wanted to build more suburbs.

Florida citrus in Jupiter Farms

When Citrus Canker was discovered on backyard citrus the State began an 11 year battle to eradicate the disease since it causes blemishes on the fruit and reduces their marketability and it was felt this was a threat to the commercial groves.  Armed with chain saws, they mercilessly leveled healthy, mature citrus trees up and down the coast.  They ended up cutting down 66,493 trees in residential yards and a total of  16.5 million trees, commercial and residential, and spending $ 1.6 billion dollars in Federal money.  So, after 11 years of destroying trees Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne, which came through the area in 2004, spread the disease over the entire State and the project was eliminated.

As an attorney for the homeowners said, “The whole case is an example of what is wrong with our government – oppressive and wasteful bureaucrats who are out of control and trampling upon our most fundamental property rights,” Williams said. “It is time for some accountability.”

So if you are looking for a home in this area and it still has some citrus trees on it, count your blessings.  Florida oranges, grapefruit and tangerines are some of the finest around and provide excellent eating during the winter when the fruit is the sweetest.

Looking for a home in this area?  Unlike many Realtors I have lived here 21 years and can show you the best values and locations.  Contact me at 561-762-4073 or  Use Skype?  Find me at rsites.  Want to search yourself?  The fastest MLS search results available are at Coastal Florida Real Estate.

Richard Sites, Realtor