Nurs­ery stops out­break

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

NURS­ERY staff from Moss­man have helped pre­vent a po­ten­tial out­break of a se­ri­ous plant dis­ease.

Myr­tle rust was first re­ported by Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil’s nurs­ery staff in Moss­man and was sub­se­quently iden­ti­fied by a mem­ber of the nurs­ery staff in their own home gar­den.

“The de­tec­tion in a res­i­den­tial gar­den is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it’s the first de­tec­tion of myr­tle rust in the en­vi­ron­ment rather than in a nurs­ery sit­u­a­tion,” the head of Biose­cu­rity Queens­land Peter Ash­ton said.

Myr­tle rust is re­garded as a sig­nif­i­cant risk for trop­i­cal coastal ar­eas of Moss­man and Port Dou­glas be­cause of the warm wet cli­mate which is ide­ally suited to the dis­ease’s de­vel­op­ment and spread.

“The coun­cil has been proac­tive in its ap­proach to myr­tle rust, en­sur­ing many of its staff re­ceived high level myr­tle rust train­ing prior to the es­tab­lish­ment of the dis­ease in the area and to help im­ple­ment man­age­ment strate­gies to con­trol the in­fes­ta­tion and pre­vent fur­ther spread.

“I strongly en­cour­age peo­ple to be on the look­out for myr­tle rust and to re­port any plants they sus­pect are in­fected to Biose­cu­rity Queens­land.”

The first signs of myr­tle rust are tiny raised pur­ple to brown spots or pus­tules, usu­ally on young ac­tively grow­ing leaves and shoots. Af­ter a few days, these le­sions erupt, pro­duc­ing masses of bright yel­low spores.

If left un­treated, myr­tle rust can cause de­for­ma­tion of leaves, heavy de­fo­li­a­tion of branches, dieback, stunted growth and even plant death.

For more in­for­ma­tion on myr­tle rust or to re­port an out­break call Biose­cu­rity Queens­land on 13 25 23.

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