Myrtle rust update – Thursday 25 May 2017

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 8940328

The number of properties infected with myrtle rust nationally stands at 20.

The affected properties are a mix of nurseries, private gardens, retailers/distributors and an orchard.

The stats stand at: 16 properties in Taranaki, 3 in Northland and 1 in Waikato. For clarification, the property announced yesterday as Kaikohe is actually in nearby Tāheke.

To date, the rust has been found on seedlings of pōhutukawa, Lophomyrtus bullata (Ramarama), eucalyptus and a single instance each of mānuka and Syzygium smithii. It has not been observed on feijoa as yet.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is receiving unprecedented support from members of the public, with well over 450 reports of suspected symptoms to its 0800 number.

MPI is working closely with the Department of Conservation (DOC) in the effort to manage the situation.

People are encouraged to look for signs of myrtle rust, including in the South Island. Many common garden plants are members of the myrtle family and any new growth is susceptible, so please examine very carefully the underside of new leaves in Lilly-Pilly (also a Syzygium), bottlebrush, mānuka, gum, guava and feijoa, especially if they are recently purchased plants from nurseries or ordered online.

Report any suspected signs of myrtle rust to MPI's Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Do not touch the rust or the plant because the fine wind-borne spores are very easily spread on clothes or shoes. Note the location and take photos of the symptoms and the plant.

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