Pest pops up in back­yards

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

THE Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food has quar­an­tined prop­er­ties across Perth af­ter the dis­cov­ery of an ex­otic plant pest.

Tomato potato psyl­lid has been de­tected in Perth com­mer­cial crops and back­yard gar­dens north and south of the river, in­clud­ing on tomato and egg­plants grown on a Bel­mont prop­erty.

Depart­ment act­ing chief plant pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer Sonya Broughton said of­fi­cers were work­ing with the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try to re­spond to the sit­u­a­tion.

“A pest has been de­tected in a cap­sicum crop in a com­mer­cial prop­erty north of Perth, back­yard toma­toes and egg­plants in Bel­mont, back­yard toma­toes at two prop­er­ties in Mt Hawthorn and in chill­ies at a prop­erty in Palmyra,” Dr Broughton said.

“The depart­ment has quar­an­tined the im­pacted prop­er­ties to re­strict the move­ment of veg­etable and plant ma­te­rial off these prop­er­ties.

“This is the first time the psyl­lid has been de­tected in Aus­tralia.”

This in­sect is a sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion pest in the US, Cen­tral Amer­ica and New Zealand.

It at­tacks a range of plants in the solanaceae fam­ily, in­clud­ing potato, tomato, egg­plant, cap­sicum, chilli, tamar­illo and sweet potato.

Dr Broughton said depart­ment of­fi­cers were sur­vey­ing Perth prop­er­ties to de­ter­mine the lo­ca­tion of the pest.

“Symp­toms of dam­age on plants can in­clude stunt­ing, yel­low­ing and pur­pling of leaves, dis­torted leaf growth and stem death,” she said.

“Grow­ers who sus­pect the pest is on their prop­erty are ad­vised not to spray for the pest or dis­turb plants un­til their crops have been sur­veyed and an ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment has been iden­ti­fied.”

Com­mer­cial veg­etable pro­duc­ers and back­yard grow­ers are urged to check for signs of the psyl­lid and re­port any­thing un­usual to the depart­ment’s MyPestGuide Re­porter app.

Re­port­ing op­tions are also avail­able from mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au or by email­ing info@agric.wa.gov. au or 1800 084 881.

The tomato potato psyl­lid has shown up in Perth.

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