Gardeners urged to stand against pest
Gardeners can help protect Australia’s $1 billion softwood plantation industry from a new insect pest called giant pine scale.
Giant pine scale is a sap-feeding insect that can attack pine, fir and spruce trees.
More than 500 infested trees have been detected so far in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
Gardeners across Victoria are being asked to help get rid of this pest by reporting any white, cottonlike waxy secretions on their pine, fir and spruce trees.
During the next few months, staff from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources will be on the hunt for giant pine scale to assess the spread of this pest — and the community can help this work by looking in their gardens.
Residents can also email photos of the suspected pest, together with a contact phone number and the location, to plant.protection@ ecodev.vic.gov.au
Victoria’s chief plant health officer Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said community support and assistance was integral to the success of the eradication program.
‘‘An urgent program is underway to help protect Australia’s more than $1 billion softwood plantation industry and to help maintain the health and safety of host trees,’’ Dr VivianSmith said.
‘‘To minimise further spread, we’re asking people not to touch, move or collect suspected samples or parts of infected trees.
‘‘We are working closely with local councils, the nursery and garden industry, arborists and related businesses as part of the program to ensure all avenues of identification and transfer of this pest are managed closely.’’
Trees impacted by giant pine scale suffer severe dehydration and branch dieback and can eventually die.
Most infested trees can be safely treated with a chemical injection but in some circumstances may need to be removed.
Gardeners can report any white, waxy secretions they see on their pine, fir and spruce trees via the tollfree Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.
More information about giant pine scale is available at www.vic.gov.au/ giantpinescale