Nursery stops outbreak
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.